April 27, 2022
Remember the Dead. Fight for the Living.
Since I became the leader of the GSLP in April 2011, I pledged to ensure that we honoured the memory of all those injured or killed at work.
As a socialist party that has its roots in trade unionism in Gibraltar, the GSLP could not for one moment stand for anything less than the constant recognition of the need to protect working people at work.
It was for that reason that we took the decision, as soon as we were elected as the GSLP/ Liberal Government, to officially commemorate every 28th of April as Workers Memorial Day.
For us the idea of Gibraltar continuing to fail to recognize Workers Memorial Day, a date officially recognized by governments around the world, as was the case under the previous GSD administration, was just unacceptable.
Additionally, we could not continue the practice of the GSD administration of failing to recognize the importance to all workers of the 1st of May with an official Bank Holiday also.
It was for that reason that we ensured that, despite those two dates being so close in the diary, both the 28th of April and the 1st of May would be properly given the recognition that they deserve as days that rightfully officially remind us of the sacrifice of workers at work, albeit for different reasons.
The celebration of Workers Memorial Day is different to the celebration of the 1st of May.
On Workers Memorial Day we are ensuring that we recall those who have lost their lives at work and those who have become injured at work.
This day is about principally health and safety provision being made in every workplace, whether it's an office, a garage, a factory or a building site so that neither physical nor mental or other injury is suffered by those who are at work.
It is in that vein that we also did pioneering work in transposing a Bullying Act into our national legislation even when such an act is not in place in the United Kingdom.
The Court of Appeal has recently analyzed that act in detail and proposed changes that the judges have suggested would make the Act better.
We have therefore already brought legislation by way of a Bill which the Parliament can consider at its next sitting, to make amendments to Bullying Act to follow the recommendations of the Court of Appeal.
The fact is that workers can suffer injuries at work of many different types.
In the time that we have been in government to date, no worker has lost his life at work.
That is a track record to be proud of.
We have invested in the infrastructure of Health & Safety at work, and will continue to do so.
But every day we have to ensure that we fight for the living by remembering the sacrifices of those who have come before.
As I never tire of saying on this day, I am the grandson of a man who died in an accident at work.
He never met his youngest daughter.
His three surviving children were too young to remember him.
His wife lost her husband as the world went to war and she was evacuated from their homes.
I remember my grandfather every day.
And every year on the 28th of April, I remember not just him but also all others who have lost their lives at work or have been injured at work.
The whole world, and certainly the whole of Gibraltar, should pause to think of all those in similar circumstances.
Remember the dead. Fight for the Living. You cannot repeat it often enough.