Yesterday afternoon, ex-Agecroft Colliery worker, Paul Kelly, and Irwell Valley Mining Project co-ordinator, Alice Searle, tied flowers to a tree at the entrance to the former Agecroft Colliery as a forerunner to Sunday's International Workers' Memorial Day.
"I used to work here with my dad many years ago and we're here today to commemorate the many, many miners who were killed under the Irwell Valley, under Salford" said Paul, who has been laying flowers at the site every year since the pit closed in 1990, and has written a forthcoming book on mining in the area.
The flowers, visible from Agecroft Road, are placed near one of the old shafts, which was the scene of a massive rescue of miners who escaped the Clifton pit disaster of 1885, when 178 men and boys were killed in one explosion.
"They were only saved by going through a tunnel from the pit at Clifton, which was down Lumns Lane, and was connected to the shaft at Agecroft" Paul explains "The tunnel was flooded and they had to come out with their noses literally pressed against the roof tunnel to stop them from drowning."
The site where the flowers are laid is soon to become a permanent memorial through the Irwell Valley Mining Project, which has secured Lottery funding to make it happen in conjunction with the local community, ex miners, building students from Salford City College and pupils from St Augustine's Primary School.
Yesterday's commemoration was part of activities around International Workers' Memorial Day on Sunday. This year, the slogan for the Day is `Remember The Dead, Fight For The Living' – a reference to the attack by the ConDem Government on current Health and Safety which has cut the enforcement budget by 35%, part of what the Hazards Campaign calls "a global crisis of enforcement that comes at too high a cost".
The Campaign has produced figures that show more people are killed at work in the world than in wars…an estimated 2.3million. In Great Britain, it estimates that 1,400 workers were killed in work-related incidents in the year 2011-12, around 50,000 died from work-related illness and that every working day two people lost a limb or an eye…
There's now a `We Didn't Vote to Die at Work' campaign which states it has evidence that Government attacks on health and safety are based on lies…
"Despite the facts about workplace deaths and illness, the Government and the media perpetuate the myth that health and safety is `a burden on business' and must be scrapped" it states "It is putting the safety and health of Britain's workers under threat by trying to slash the laws that protect you, cut enforcement and inspection and make it harder to win compensation for injuries."
International Workers' Memorial Day
Sunday 28th April 11am
Albert Square, Manchester
The rally begins with a minute's silence to `Remember the Dead' and ends with a minute's shouting to `Fight For The Living'. People are being asked to bring anything that will make a noise – pots and pans, whistles etc. In between there will be music by Claire Mooney and others, and speakers, including trade union health and safety reps, and the families of those who have been killed at and by work. The rally will end with a march to the People's History Museum.
Further details on the campaigns and the rally…
Hazards Campaign: www.hazardscampaign.org.uk
See also www.tuc.org.uk/wmd
See also Workers Memorial Day feature on Compliance and Safety Blog - click here
For more info and to get involved with the Irwell Valley Mining Project see previous Salford Star article - click here