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Workers Memorial Day 2014

Branch banner at Omagh trades council ceremony for Workers' Memorial Day, Grange Park, Omagh, on Monday 28 April. NUJ members with members of NIPSA, SIPTU and UNISON.  -  © Derry North West Ireland NUJ branch

23 April 2014

The purpose behind Workers' Memorial Day has always been to "remember the dead: fight for the living" and unions are asked to focus on both areas, by considering events or memorials to remember all those killed through work but at the same time ensuring that such tragedies are not repeated.

That can best be done by building trade union organisation, and campaigning for stricter enforcement with higher penalties for breaches of health and safety laws.

Workers Memorial Day is commemorated throughout the world and is officially recognised by the UK Government.

Monday 28 April is Workers’ Memorial Day – and the NUJ’s health and safety committee is asking all chapels to call a minute’s silence to commemorate journalists and media workers who have been killed in the course of their work.

According to the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ):

"Over the past 20 years more than 2,000 journalists and media staff have been killed in the line of duty. They died because someone did not like what they wrote or said, because someone did not like journalists or simply because they were in the wrong place in the wrong time.
"Every job has its risks, and journalists, whose job is to bring into the open what someone wants hidden, are at greater risk than most. But the risks today are unacceptably high. In some parts of the world harassment, threats and worse have become an unavoidable part of the job. When reporting on war or civil conflict the risks escalate and journalists lose their lives."

In just 10 weeks between January and mid-March 2014 around the world 16 journalists lost their lives.

The dangers of journalism do not only appear in conflict zones and during civil unrest.

In the UK, the government’s relentless attacks on legal protection are making working life more dangerous and more unhealthy in offices and on everyday assignments.

Job cuts, excessive workloads and longer working hours throughout the media cause stress, strain and sleep disorders as well as increasing the risk of accidents.

Observe a minute’s silence on Workers’ Memorial Day at noon, or at a suitable time, perhaps at the start of a morning production or editorial conference or, for broadcasters, after 11am news bulletins – and use the occasion to remind managers of their obligations.

Please remember the importance of safety at work and commemorate lost colleagues.

Find out what events are happening near you - details on the TUC website.

IFJ killed list report - available on the NUJ website.

Go to the health and safety section of the NUJ website.

Tags: , health and safety, workers' memorial day, journalists killed, conflict, civil unrest, cuts, day of action