Wigan workers who have lost their lives on the coronavirus front line to be remembered at memorial event

Wigan workers who have lost their lives on the coronavirus front line will be remembered at a memorial event this morning (Tuesday) paying tribute to those who have died doing their jobs.

Tuesday, 28th April 2020, 10:18 am
The Face of Wigan in Believe Square where the memorial will be held

International Workers Memorial Day, which annually commemorates those killed at work or who have died as a result of injury or illness sustained during their career, is today and comes as a number of key workers have died in the efforts against Covid-19.

Wigan Trades Council is keen to ensure that, even under lockdown, the day is marked in the borough and is organising a solemn ceremony in Believe Square this morning.

Delegates observing social distancing will hold a two-minute silence at 11am and a wreath will be laid at the Face of Wigan statue.

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As well as marking International Workers Memorial Day this will honour a call for a period of silence for the lives lost among health professionals made by the Royal College of Nursing, which is being backed by the TUC and trade unions.

Wigan Trades Council says it is not practical to have a large public event for the memorial day, unlike in past years when ceremonies have been held in Mesnes Park, but hopes people will take a couple of minutes out of their day at 11am to remember those who have died.

It also wants people to think of key workers, such as transport employees, delivery drivers, supermarket staff, cleaners, carers and security guards who are helping to keep daily life going at this difficult time.

A spokesperson said: “We’re not calling for people to come out en masse but want we want to do is show respect to the people of Wigan who have died and to our front-line workers.

“We’re going to use the Face of Wigan as a focal point if people want to leave flowers or messages to honour those risking their lives to help those struggling in these trying times.

“We want everyone to stop what they are doing in their workplace or at home at 11am to join the two-minute silence.”

Last week NHS workers gathered for a moving ceremony outside Wigan Infirmary to mourn the four health employees in the borough who have died during the pandemic.

So far more than 130 people have died with Covid-19 in Wigan’s hospitals.

Labour backbench elected representative for Wigan Central ward Coun George Davies is also urging residents to spend a moment in remembrance today.

The Trades Council hopes the day dedicated to remembering those killed at work will also serve as a beginning point for discussions about what comes next and what has gone wrong during the coronavirus outbreak.

The spokesperson said: “Unions are now making demands that things like the fragmentation of the NHS can’t go on. That has contributed to the problems we’ve had with equipment.

“The government has also lacked preparedness in tackling the shortage of safety equipment.

“The privatisation of distribution and supplies has also made things very difficult.

“The coronavirus crisis has highlighted the damage that has been done to the country’s infrastructure through the privatisation of the NHS, health and social care services.”