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Sunday, 28 April 2013

Remember the dead. Fight for the living

#IWMD13 Edinburgh Workers Memorial Day: In the month that saw hundreds of workers killed and thousands injured in Dhaka and 14 killed and hundreds injured in Texas, trade unionists, families and councillors gathered on IWMD to remember those who have died due to injury or ill health caused by work, and to refresh our resolve to fight for safe and healthy working conditions in Scotland and throughout the world.

Edinburgh's Deputy Lord Provost, Angela Blacklock laid a wreath and council buildings and the Art Gallery flew their flags at half mast.

The event at the Workers Memorial Tree in West Princes Street Gardens started with music from Edinburgh's radical singing group, Protest in Harmony followed by short addresses from:

Madhu Dutta is a long time labour and environmental justice campaigner in India. She said:“As we gather together to remember our comrades who have died, we need to build cross solidarities throughout the world so that corporations don't get away with impunity by poisoning workers and communities in poorer countries, taking advantage of the social and economic conditions there.”

Louise Taggart, a member of Families Against Corporate Killers whose brother was killed at work, made a moving speech slamming the ‘hidden figures’ of work related deaths which the Hazards Campaign says could be as much as 140 a day.

John Stevenson UNISON City of Edinburgh Branch President said: “As we do each year on this day, we will remember the dead, their families and their friends. And just as we also do, we will fight for the living.

“And we do that by fighting the attacks on laws that came about because of the reality of deaths and injury at work. If we don’t, we will not just lose a generation of progress on health and safety - but a lot more lives and hopes.

“Today, we remember the dead. Tomorrow we go out and fight for the living.” (see John’s full speech here).

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