National recognition of Workers’ Memorial Day – US & UK

The United States President, Barack Obama, has officially proclaimed 28 April 2010 as Workers Memorial Day.

It may be a politically appropriate announcement given the multiple fatalities that have happened recently in the United States, which the President mentions, but this should not overlook the fact that the leader of one of the most influential countries in the world has acknowledged the International Day of Mourning.

The British government has not been quite so overt but in Parliament on 28 January 2010, the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Yvette Cooper, announced that, following consultation:

“I am therefore delighted to announce that the UK will officially recognise Workers Memorial Day, and that this recognition will take formal effect this year on 28 April, the international day of action for safety and health at work.  The day is already widely commemorated in the UK and official recognition will reinforce its significance and raise awareness of the workers who are killed, disabled, injured or made unwell each year by their work.”

The official recognition is recorded on the website of the Department for Work & Pensions.

The consultation referred to is, in some ways, very British but at least consultation occurred.  Those people involved with organising such events may find some assistance in the consultation document from July 2009 and the January 2010 government response.

Kevin Jones

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