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Vigils held to mark Workers Memorial Day

Vigils are to be held across the United Kingdom today to mark International Workers Memorial Day – the first time the day has been formally recognised in the UK.

In London, people from throughout the industry will gather at the building worker statue at Tower Hill to lay wreaths and release black balloons in memory of those killed on sites over the past year. 

A commemorative event will also held near London’s Westfield Stratford site to remember worker Shaun Scurry, 39, who died in December after he became trapped between a steel beam and an industrial lift.

Similar events are organised by unions and lobby groups up and down the country, and many contractors will ask staff to observe a minute’s silence at noon.

Earlier this year work and pensions secretary of state Yvette Cooper announced the UK would join 18 other countries from around the world in officially recognising the day, which originated in Canada in 1984.

Ms Cooper said she hoped it would be “a spur to greater efforts to improve health and safety for today’s and tomorrow’s working population”. Workers Memorial Day has been informally recognised in the UK since 1992. 

Protests against the Tories will also continue for a second day, led by construction union Ucatt, in a bid to curb the party’s plans to allow externally-audited companies to bypass HSE inspections.