Globally, each year on April 28th, people gather to mark International Workers’ Memorial Day. On this day we remember those who have lost their lives at work, or as a result of work-related injury and disease. In remembering those who have died, we reaffirm our commitment to prevent more deaths, injuries and disease as a result of work. The Government of Gibraltar officially recognises Workers’ Memorial Day.
This year, 28 April 2020, International Workers’ Memorial Day, was different, as the Government of Gibraltar and the Gibraltar Health Authority remembered those healthcare staff and all other key workers who have tragically lost their lives during the COVID-19 pandemic. This year, Coronavirus was the International Workers’ Memorial Day theme.
The Minister for Health and Care, the Honourable Paul Balban, said: “We take time on Workers’ Memorial Day to pay tribute to the sacrifice made by so many workers during this pandemic and to remember those who have sadly lost their lives. We also wish to thank all those who continue to do vital work at great risk to themselves. This tribute is extended to all workers whose lives have been lost, and today we also remember their families. The minute’s silence allows us all to pay tribute to the sacrifice made of so many workers during the pandemic. As we come together in remembering those who have lost their lives, we also reach out in support of those who are experiencing grief.”
Mrs Sandra Gracia, Director of Nursing Services, said: “We dedicate this day to healthcare workers. The coronavirus pandemic affects every worker, regardless of the sector in which they work or their workplace; it affects us all. Globally, there are tens of thousands of workers who have died. Many more have fallen ill and many are continuing to go to work each day risking their lives for others.” Mrs Gracia added: “I am grateful and humbled by those staff at the Gibraltar Health Authority and Care Agency who attend to their duties and have the needs of patients and those they offer care and support to, at the centre of all that they do. The silence, in sharp contrast to the applauding roars of the 8pm tributes made to essential workers from homes and balconies each evening, is a respectful silence, a touching reminder of the risks that essential workers run as they keep us safe. This simple demonstration of respect is in response to those who have paid the very highest price, our nation salutes them in our gratitude.”
Professor Ian Peate, Head of the School of Health Studies, added: “We also pay tribute today to those health and social care students across the world who have died during the COVID-19 pandemic. We will never forget the contribution and efforts that these students made as they worked and studied with the determined aim of making a difference.”