05/08/2021

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CORONAVIRUS LATEST: Public asked to observe minute's silence for workers killed by Covid-19

Everyone has been asked to participate in a minute of silence at 11am on April 28 to pay tribute to workers killed by the coronavirus

CORONAVIRUS LATEST: Public asked to observe minute's silence for workers killed by Covid-19

A Derry councillor has encouraged the public to observe a minute's silence tomorrow in memory of workers who have died after contracting Covid-19.

People Before Profit councillor Shaun Harkin said: "We're encouraging everyone to participate in a minute of silence at 11am on tomorrow to pay tribute to workers killed by the coronavirus. April 28th is the date of the annually organised International Workers Memorial Day when trade unions all over the world remember workers killed, injured or made ill at work.

"This year the focus is on front line workers killed by Covid-19. Many thousands of front line workers are among the more than 200,000 people who have died so far as a result of the pandemic. Many more have been made ill.

"The crisis has put a spotlight on the inadequate response of the Stormont Executive and many employers when it comes to workplace safety. Workplace protests to the Health and Safety Executive increased by nearly 2000% from March 23 to April 1.

"Food industry workers were forced to take strike action at Moy Park and elsewhere. Many other workers forced their employers to comply with safety guidelines by threatening strike action or by staying away from work.

"The response by Westminster, the Stormont Executive and the Dail to this crisis has made it clear why every worker should have the unobstructed right to trade union representation to challenge pay poverty, inadequate staffing levels and sickness benefits, and, precarious work.

"Unions are needed now more than ever before to give workers a voice in response to the Covid-19 public health and economic crisis. Covid-19 has made it clear why a fundamental reordering of society is required. We need to move away from one that prioritises elites to one focused on front line workers, communities and the vast majority of people who have acted selflessly in this crisis.

"We need a return to the militant socialist trade unionism of Jim Larkin and James Connolly in the North and South."

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