Written Ministerial Statements: Thursday 28 January 2010
The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (Yvette Cooper):
I am pleased to announce the publication of the Government's response to the consultation exercise proposing the official recognition of Workers Memorial Day.
The Government's response (Cm 7789) has been laid before Parliament and is available on the DWP website.
The consultation exercise attracted a large number of responses, the overwhelming majority of which were strongly supportive of the proposal. 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.
Commemorations will continue to be led by individuals, employers, trade unions and community organisations. In keeping with the outcome of the consultation, the Government will encourage commemorations to be held on the day itself throughout the UK. The Government and Ministers will help support and promote these commemorations.
Official recognition is a tribute to all those who have campaigned long and hard for such recognition, including bereaved families, trade unions, campaign groups, and many other organisations and individuals. It is also recognition of the importance of work to improve health and safety among the working population.
In a letter to us (24-12-09) from Rob Marris MP (W'ton SW) he wrote:
"National Recognition for Workers' Memorial Day
On 17 August 2009, the junior DWP Minister Bill McKenzie wrote to me saying that a summary of responses would be published on the DWP website shortly after the consultation closed on 19 October. That did not happen. So on 26 November 2009 I wrote to him, enquiring about the delay.
In his reply, dated 18 December 2009. I note there were 230 replies to the consultation. 9 of those came via me. He says that the government's report following the consultation should be published "early in the new year". So I am making a note in my diary, for mid February 2010, to chase up the Minister if I have not heard anything before then.
Yours sincerely, Rob Marris MP"
our response (in red) was broadly adopted particularly questions 3 and 6:
Consultation on proposals for official UK recognition of Workers Memorial Day Questionnaire
1. Do you agree that the UK should officially recognise Workers Memorial Day? Yes
2. If ‘Yes’ to Question 1, do you agree that official recognition should take effect from 28 April 2010? Yes
3. Do you agree that, with a view to promoting UK-wide involvement in Workers Memorial Day, a different UK region should lead on the commemorations each year?
No – we do not think that this has worked well for holocaust memorial day
4. Do you agree that Government-sponsored websites – such as BusinessLink and Directgov -should promote Workers Memorial Day each year, and publicise details of commemorative events? Yes
5. Do you agree that Government should encourage workplace commemorations of Workers Memorial Day, each year, in manners appropriate to individual workplaces?
Yes also civic commemoration e.g. flags lowered etc
6. Do you agree that Government should, where appropriate, encourage commemorations to be held on the nearest Saturday to Workers Memorial Day?
No – it is about workplace injury so it is appropriate to hold on working days. Any workplace commemoration, as in Point 5 (above) would have less involvement on a Saturday as fewer people are at work. Setting it for Saturday would cause confusion of date and clash with workers’ day on occasions – 1st May/May Day bank holiday is already confusion enough and Britain is out of kilter with other countries.
7. Do you agree that Government Ministers should be actively involved in commemorating Workers Memorial Day each year? Yes
8. Have you any other proposals for marking Workers Memorial Day each year? If yes, please give details
Although industrial chaplaincies and faith groups are involved in many commemorations around the country, it should not become a religious ceremony and we hope that national recognition will not mean prayers for the hope of achieving health and safety improvements but rather a focus for awareness raising and legislation improvement.
9. Have you any other comments on this consultation exercise and its proposals? If yes, please give details
National monuments are not necessary – almost definitely in London and would not fit in with a notion of regional promotion of the day if Point 3 (above) is adopted. Perhaps a small fund might be useful for local safety campaigners to plant workers memorial day trees, plaques or small monuments around the country.
Guidance for assistance to be offered by local authorities would be useful e.g. the making of suitable space to erect a tree/plaque/monument, lowering civic flags, publicity etc.
Government publicity to calendar industry to remind them to include date in future calendars and diaries.
Download the consultation document Here