International Workers’ Memorial Day rally

National Covid Memorial Wall, London SE1 3FT

From: 13.30 and 14.30 hours

Thursday 28 April, 2022

The call for all health and social care workers (HSCWs) to be issued with special equipment - respiratory protective equipment (RPE) – as the Covid crisis continues will be highlighted tomorrow (Thursday 28 April) at an event organised by Doctors in Unite (DiU) at the National Covid Memorial Wall in London.

Health and social care secretary Sajid Javid is being urged to ensure that RPE is provided for all the healthcare workforce, which is not currently the case, despite more than 2,000 health and social care workers having died as a result of the pandemic, according to ONS data.

In a message of solidarity to the event, Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Many workers paid the price for the pandemic with their lives and with their health because they were exposed to this virus at work. Politicians clapped their pots and pans for doctors, nurses and social care workers, but soon forgot the sacrifice.  There was no reward – just insulting pay cuts – and still we must fight for safety at work.

The best way to remember those that have perished is to build something in their name, a trade union movement worthy of the name. Because that will allow us to protect the living.

“Unite will always do more that demand just laws - we will lead the fight for ourselves, for safety, beginning at the workplace.”

Doctors in Unite chair Dr Jackie Applebee said: “The tragic loss of so many HSCWs is compounded by the fact that many of these deaths were unnecessary. We will never know exactly how many, but from the start of the pandemic HSCWs have not been properly protected, and this continues to this day. It is self-evident that airborne infections need special protective equipment.”

Unite national officer for health Colenzo Jarrett-Thorpe said: “This situation is intolerable. Not surprisingly tens of thousands of HSCWs continue to be infected, many are off sick with Covid and an estimated 150,000 others have developed Long Covid.

“We will not rest until our colleagues are given the respect they deserve, and the protections they need to safely carry out their jobs.”


Notes to editors:

The speakers scheduled for tomorrow are:  Dr Jackie Applebee (Doctors in Unite); Dave Carr (Unite rep and ICU Nurse); Shelly Asquith (TUC national health & safety officer); Colenzo Jarrett-Thorpe (Unite national officer for health); Helen O’Connor (GMB, ex-nurse and NHS union organiser); Dr Meenal Viz (campaigning NHS doctor); Dr Anna Livingstone (Barts Unite); Sarah Byrne (teacher NEU); and Adam Rogalewski (European Public Service Union). 

For more information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 020 3371 2060 or 07768 693940. Unite press office is on:  020 3371 2065.

Please note the numbers above are for journalists’ enquiries only.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @unitetheunion Facebook: unitetheunion1 Web: 

Unite is the leading union in the UK and Ireland, dedicated to defending and improving members' jobs, pay and conditions. The general secretary is Sharon Graham.