Remembering our key workers

‘It was incredibly moving to see the entire nation fall silent and pay its respects’

VID-19 fatalities on International Workers Memorial Day 2020

People across the country, and across UNISON, held a silent tribute today to health, care and other key workers who have lost their lives to COVID-19 in the current pandemic. They included general secretary Dave Prentis (pictured above), leading the union from home in the current lock-down.

Every year, UNISON members and trade unionists around the world mark International Workers’ Memorial Day on 28 April, committing themselves to “remember the dead and fight for the living”.

But, said Mr Prentis, “this year the day has a special meaning, as coronavirus takes its toll on key workers providing vital public services and looking after our loved ones and friends, giving the day a special significance.

“That is why UNISON led the way in calling for a minute’s silence to remember those who have died during the crisis.

“We thank our branches across the UK – and we were pleased to see more than the usual trade union activists joining in the commemoration.

“Our union even called on the prime minister to support the silence, and from football clubs to food stores, railway stations to hospitals and other emergency services, the nation paid its respects.

“It was incredibly moving to see the entire nation fall silent and pay its respects to all the health, care, council and transport workers who’ve tragically lost their lives to the virus,” he added.

“The sight of government offices, workplaces and homes across the UK pausing for a moment of quiet reflection brought home the overwhelming sense of gratitude we all feel.”

“While most of us were safe at home, these workers were putting themselves in harm’s way, saving lives and looking after patients and the elderly in our hospitals and care homes.”

UNISON members expressed similar feelings across the UK – here is just a very small sample: