International Workers’ Memorial Day 2021
Queensland Teachers' Journal, Vol 126 No 4, 28 May 2021, page no.4
Each year on 28 April, the Queensland union movement and the wider community gather at Emma Miller Place, Roma Street, Brisbane to remember workers killed at or by their work.
Dedicated to the 17,000 frontline health workers lost globally during COVID-19 and to every worker who has died at work, the commemoration led by Queensland Council of Union’s (QCU) General Secretary, Michael Clifford was powerfully poignant.
The pandemic has brought home the importance of effective systems of work that allow for services and industries to continue, while protecting workers and their families. Our journey has been very different to the experience of many workers elsewhere in the world. So many workers’ lives lost and continuing to be lost because they attend work to nurse, to clean, to teach, to keep public services moving, without the appropriate safeguards in place. And so many more of our comrades impacted by the debilitating effects of what is being described as long COVID.
Taking this time every year to remember is about more than symbolism. It is honouring those that should still be with us and re-committing to progressing the work of unions in fighting for safer workplaces. That’s why the International Trade Union
Confederation set the theme as “Health and Safety is a fundamental workers’ right”.
SafeWork Australia reports that 183 workers were fatally injured at work in 2019, 26 of them in Queensland. Every death a tragedy for family, friends and workmates. Every death unacceptable.