UNISON in Waltham Forest once again hosted this local event at Waltham Forest Town Hall where we remembered those killed, injured or made ill by their work and pledged to fight for the living. Proceedings kicked off with Mick Holder of the NUJ and Waltham Forest Trades Council telling us about the history and background to this day, calling on the Labour Party to pledge significant reform to the Health and Safety legislation and enforcement by tightening the law and making enforcement effective. He also read out the names of those who have died at work locally in recent years. The list included Raymond Holmes, who was tragically killed at the Water Works in Coppermill Lane. His wife, daughter and grand-daughter attended the event.
The opening remarks were followed by a minute’s silence and the laying of wreaths. Chris Street and Bill Palmer, UNISON health and safety reps, laid our branch wreath which was in the shape of the workers memorial purple ribbon. The press then took some photographs and we continued with a series of fine speeches. Rinaldo Frizzatto, local NUT President, spoke about the health and safety issues in schools, particularly asbestos and chastised the government for its policy of de-regulation. Monica Gort of the Workers Education Authority spoke about the importance of training health and safety reps and how research has consistently shown how workplaces with trained trade union safety reps are safer places to work than those without. Vincent Borg, the Assistant National Officer For Health and Safety for UNISON spoke about the ongoing campaign to improve health and safety at work. Paul Embery, FBU Regional Secretary, told the audience about the perils of the cuts that are being imposed by Boris Johnson and the GLA on the Fire Brigade. And finally, John Cryer, local MP for Leyton and Leytonstone gave a very informative speech that incorporated health and safety on an international scale, particularly focussing on the 1500 worker deaths so far on the Quatar world cup stadia construction sites where bonded labour practices and a complete disregard for human life are prevalent.
The event ended with lunch kindly provided by our local UNITE branch. Our thanks go to them, particularly Kevin Parslow and Tommy Anderson.
Visit our gallery to see further photos of the day.