Sadness and anger at Wigan town centre workers' memorial event

Trade unionists gathered in Believe Square to remember those who have died doing their jobs as the borough fell silent to pay tribute at 11am.

Tuesday, 28th April 2020, 3:42 pm
Updated Tuesday, 28th April 2020, 6:17 pm

The deaths of health professionals and other key workers during the Covid-19 pandemic made this year's International Workers' Memorial Day a more poignant affair than ever.

Wigan Trades Council organised a ceremony at the Face of Wigan statue with a two-minute silence and a wreath and other floral tributes being laid.

Participants observed the social distancing requirements as they paid their respects.

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The ceremony for International Workers' Memorial Day in Wigan town centre

There was also anger on display at the Government's handling of the coronavirus, with some of the messages calling for more personal protective equipment (PPE) for front-line staff and for health secretary Matt Hancock to resign.

Health organisations and staff posted on social media of the moving moment work briefly stopped on Tuesday morning to honour the lives lost.

Three NHS staff in Wigan are known to have died with Covid-19.

Residents had also been encouraged to pause at 11am to join in the tribute to key workers who have died.

Messages for the memorial day were also posted by Wigan Council and the constituency's MP Lisa Nandy.

In a video on Twitter Ms Nandy said it was the most emotional International Workers' Memorial Day she could remember and pledged to ensure those on the front line against the illness receive the equipment and support they need.

The Trades Council also said lessons need to be learned from the current crisis, saying policies in recent years towards "fragmentation" in the NHS and health and social care had weakened the system's ability both to look after patients and to get PPE into the right hands.

International Workers' Memorial Day takes place every year to remember those who have died in the course of their work.