Trade unions come together to mark International Workers' Memorial Day
WORKERS from across a variety of trades unions gathered together to pay their respects to those who have died at work yesterday on International Workers' Memorial Day.
Unions from across the political spectrum held a minute of silence in Victoria Park, Portsmouth, before a handful of passionate speeches were made, urging companies to improve health and safety at work.
Around 50 people gathered for the occasion and organiser Jon Woods said the event is growing in importance with every year.
The Portsmouth Trade Council president said: ‘This is one of the best turnouts we’ve had which shows how important it is for unions to come together and highlight the key health and safety issues that are facing people in the workplace.
Louis Macdonald, secretary of Portsmouth Trade Council said: ‘Every 15 seconds around the world, a worker dies or is injured at work.
‘This is a tragedy that needs to stop and companies must do more to improve safety in the workplace.’
Unions present at the event were Unite the Union, Portsmouth Public and Commercial Services Union, Prospect, Unite, Portsmouth Trade Council, the Rail, Maritime and Transport union, the National Union of Teachers and University College Union.
Penny Foskett, a retired teacher from the NUT spoke to highlight safety issues at schools which are facing funding cuts.
She said: ‘At schools, we have more than just teachers there but hundreds of children and many buildings are having issues of asbestos.
‘This raises significant health concerns so when we are campaigning for change in schools, we are doing it for everybody.’
Stewart Hurdle, of the RMT, also spoke at the meeting, pressing for the continued rail strikes with Southern Rail over driverless trains.
He said: ‘It is imperative we keep guards on the train for passengers safety.
‘What the rail companies do not understand is that leaving trains empty provides a real risk.’