Tomorrow, the nation will fall silent at 11am to honour and remember all of the health, care and other key workers who have lost their lives to coronavirus.
It’s an opportunity for us all to take a moment to pay our respects and give thanks to for the lives of those who saved lives, kept key services running and the rest of the country safe. It’s also a further opportunity to show our love to their families, and to remind everyone of the real danger that key workers are placing themselves in to keep our country going and our communities safe.
Our union has been leading the calls for this commemoration which takes place on International Workers Memorial Day. Every year, this is an important date for our union – but never more so than this year. The risk of death should never be something which any of us have to consider as part of our working lives, but for too many workers that is the ongoing reality of the fight against COVID-19.So while we pay our respects to those who have lost their lives, we continue to fight for better protection at work for everyone who needs it – whether those at risk during the current crisis, or any worker whose life is put at risk by their working conditions.
This virus has had a profound impact on all of our lives, but there are clearly those who are particularly affected. This virus has had a disproportionate impact on older people, Black communities and those with prior health conditions. It has also had a huge impact on those whose vital work means they cannot stay at home, including so many UNISON members – taking care of our loved ones, educating our children, keeping our streets safe or making sure that vital food and supplies are delivered – who are putting themselves at risk to protect us all.
Every minute this pandemic continues, people are making extraordinary sacrifices to keep us safe and run our vital services.
That’s why we’ve issued this call for the whole country to take part and remember the sacrifices key workers have made. So wherever you are – at home or at work – please join us in a moment of silence at 11am tomorrow. To say thank you. To remember. To show our solidarity. To remember the dead, but also on International Workers Memorial Day, to fight for the living.
After all that key workers have already given to us all throughout this crisis, it is the very least that we can do.