NUJ members rally for International Workers Memorial Day

  • 29 Apr 2024

Irish representatives gather at Irish Congress of Trade Unions memorial

To mark International Workers Memorial Day, the NUJ has organised and attended a number of events remembering those who have died carrying out their work and acknowledging their loss.

At the weekend the union held a vigil in Dublin and representatives also took part in a memorial today at the city's Garden of Remembrance.

Séamus Dooley, NUJ Irish Secretary and Ian McGuinness, NUJ Irish Organiser (and member of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions Health and Safety committee) heard ICTU General Secretary Owen Reidy give a speech sending, “solidarity to workers internationally” and calling "for safe work at home and across the world.”

“Our event today is the National Commemoration for WMD; but it is not the only event, trade unions and workplaces will be organising events and observing a minute's silence across the country and I know that the NUJ, among other unions, organised a vigil in Dublin yesterday.”

Reidy added that in Ireland, “tragically this year has seen a rise in workplace fatalities.  When I was at this ceremony last year, 27 people lost their lives in 2022, the lowest on record. Even one death is one death too many but it is unacceptable that the number of people who lost their lives in 2023 stood at 43.  

“No one should have to put their lives at risk to earn a living.”

Other NUJ events on Monday include London Freelance Branch organising a rally at 6.30pm on Whitehall opposite Downing Street with speakers to honour colleagues killed in Gaza and the NUJ holding an event in Dublin at 6pm remembering all the journalists killed in the line of duty in Isreal/Palestine and reading their names out on the steps of the Hugh Lane Gallery, Parnell Square. 

Marking IWMD, Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, said: “No story is worth a person’s life, but all too often journalists find themselves literally in the line of fire when carrying out their work. They endure dangerous conditions to cover wars and conflicts, they shine a light into places political despots and criminal gangs prefer kept dark and expose wrongdoings and corruption across the globe.

“The death toll, now more than 100 in Gaza, is all the more shocking because we believe journalists are being directly targeted by the Israeli Defence Forces. That is why we are calling for an immediate investigation by the International Criminal Court to ensure all incidents of the targeting of journalists constituting war crimes under international law are properly investigated.

“On IWMD we will be mourning the deaths of our journalist colleagues in Palestine and extending sympathy to their families. We will continue to work with International Federation of Journalists and the Palestinian Journalists’ Syndicate to provide protection and provisions for the press working in unimaginable situations and suffering enormous privations. That’s why we thank members, chapels and branches for their generosity so far, but ask for further donations to the IFJ safety fund.

“We again call for the release of all hostages and for both sides to agree to a permanent ceasefire to ensure attacks on journalists and all civilians comes to an end.

“As the IFJ’s list of media workers killed grows by the week, we continue to argue with the UN for an international, legally binding convention to protect the safety and independence of journalists and to recognise that media workers face greater risks when compared to other civilians.

“On the home front, workers in the UK and Ireland are sustaining fatal injuries while doing their jobs. That is why we are working with the Trade Union Congress and the Irish Congress of Trade Unions to fight for workers’ rights and safety, and lobby for greater protections while supporting the vital role of unions’ health and safety reps on the ground.”

Others who have lost their lives while doing their jobs this year include: Pakistani journalist, Sagheer Ahmed Laar, was killed on 14 March after unidentified men opened fire on him outside a pharmacy in Punjab; Abdikarin Ahmed Bulhan, a reporter for Somali National Television (SNTV), was killed on 13 March in the Abudwak district of the Galguduud region in central Somalia when an armed security guard shot and fatally wounded him at his workplace; Western News journalist Myat Thu Tan was shot dead by military personnel on 31 January along with seven other political prisoners jailed by Myanmar’s ruling junta.



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