The noon silence is observed every year for those killed, disabled or injured at work. The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) will be honouring around 17,000 healthcare staff thought to have died around the world. RCN president Dame Professor Anne Marie Rafferty said: “Nurses have put their lives on the line for others and been at the heart of the response to the pandemic in all parts of health and social care.
“Tragically, some have lost their lives and today we take a moment to remember them all.”
The TUC and leaders of the Unison and Unite unions will be joined by bereaved families when they mark the day with a vigil at the National Covid Memorial Wall in London.
Meanwhile unions are calling on Prime Minister Boris Johnson to set a timetable for a public inquiry into the handling of the pandemic.
TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “We’ll forever be in the debt of the workers who died during this pandemic, nurses, carers, bus drivers and so many more.
“We owe it to them and to their families to get on with the public inquiry.”
Jo Goodman, co-founder of Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice said: “Many of our loved ones lost their life after catching Covid in their workplaces.
“From working in the factories that produced PPE for the NHS to the nurses and doctors who didn’t have enough PPE at the start of the pandemic, they kept the country going and paid the ultimate price.
“An independent, judge-led statutory public inquiry is vital to making sure we learn lessons and save lives during the pandemic and for any future waves.
“The stories of our loved ones hold the answers to preventing more grief for other families.”