West Lothian has paid tribute to local workers and those from around the world who have died through work-related illnesses and accidents.
A moving ceremony to mark International Workers’ Memorial Day was held at the memorial in Bathgate’s Balbardie Park on Tuesday, April 28.
The event, which is organised by West Lothian Trade Union Council and supported by West Lothian Council, marked the 15th year of the opening of the dedicated memorial site in the park.
Developed by Bathgate Community Council and maintained by pupils from nearby Balbardie Primary school, the site includes a special sculpture with the International Workers’ Memorial Day slogan, ‘‘mourn the dead and fight for the living’’ as well as a memorial tree and shrub garden.
International Workers’ Memorial Day originated in Canada to remember the people who have died in the course of their work over the years and highlight the need for better workplace safety. It was brought to West Lothian in 1992 and has since spread across Scotland.
Council leader John McGinty said: “West Lothian Council is delighted to support International Workers’ Memorial Day in this special 15th anniversary year of the permanent memorial being put in place in Balbardie Park.
“West Lothian was the first Scottish council to recognise the event in 2005 by flying flags at half-mast with many other local authorities now following suit.
“International Workers’ Memorial Day is an opportunity to remember those who have lost their lives through work, as well as ensure the lessons of the past are learned and we continue to work to improve workplace safety for everyone.
The event was introduced by the chairman of WLTUC, George Paul, who said: “It is estimated that more people have died through work-related causes throughout the world than have been killed in wars which is why International Workers’ Memorial Day is now held in many countries around the world.
The keynote speakers were Robert Mooney from the Scottish Trade Union Congress and Neil Findlay MSP with prayers led by the Right Reverend Alistair Lawson and Reverend Chris Gilbey.
Floral tributes were laid and a minute’s silence held before Grant Walker from Boghall and Bathgate Pipe Band played ‘‘The Flowers o’ the Forest’’ to close the moving event.