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Lives lost at work marked by memorial in Inverness

By Val Sweeney

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The international workers memorial at Friars Shott in Inverness.
The international workers memorial at Friars Shott in Inverness.

AN evocative memorial recalling those who have died at work has been installed in a prominent riverside spot in Inverness.

The Caithness stone structure, which incorporates seating, was set to be unveiled on International Workers’ Memorial Day earlier this year but a crack in the stone meant it had to be postponed to enable repairs to be carried out.

It is understood to be the only such memorial with an English inscription – Remember The Dead – Fight For The Living – plus Gaelic wording.

Its installation at Friars Shott has been welcomed by retired trade unionist and construction worker Bill Anderson who had long campaigned for the memorial.

“It is there in a place where people who have lost a loved one or a friend at their place of work can sit and reflect,” said Mr Anderson, a former member of the Inverness and District Trades Union Council.

“It doesn’t matter which country they are from. It is a worldwide thing.”

A total of 137 people were reported to have been killed at work in Britain in 2016-17, according to the Health and Safety Executive. At the same time, 72,702 injuries were reported under reporting of injuries, diseases and dangerous occurrences regulations.

“One lost life is one too many,” Mr Anderson said.

The memorial has been funded by the trade union movement, the Inverness Common Good Fund, Highland Council’s ward discretionary budget and private contributions.

“It is now in place for everyone to enjoy,” Mr Anderson said. “I hope people will recognise the fact that there are people who go off to work in the morning and don’t return to their loved ones at the end of the day.”

Kenneth Macmillan, secretary of the Inverness and District Trades Council, said it had taken many years to get the funding in place and it had been mentioned in the Scottish Parliament by Highlands and Islands Labour MSP Rhoda Grant.

“It must have been on the agenda of trades council for the best part of a decade,” he said. “It is a very striking memorial.”

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