Falkirk memorial will honour those who died in the workplace

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Construction work has 
begun on a monument that will give Falkirk town centre its first new piece of stone artwork in around 120 years.

Falkirk Trade Union Council’s International Workers Memorial Day monument, which they have called The Workers Stone, should be in place by the end of this month and will be inaugurated at a ceremony on April 28.

Work on placing the monument in Falkirk’s Calendar Riggs is being carried out by Linlithgow-based P1 Solutions.

Fittingly they started work during Scottish Apprenticeship Week. The three 
metre high stone section of the monument was created by apprentices with what was then Historic Scotland, since rebranded Historic Environment Scotland.

And a galvanised steel globe that sits within the stone plinth was made by engineering students attending Forth Valley College’s Falkirk campus.

The designer of the monument is Karolina Surmacz, then on secondment with local architect Tommy Thomson. She now has her own business, KS Design, based in Polmont.

That was almost a decade ago. It was intended to site the monument in Lint Riggs. But with work beginning, an underground waste pipe was discovered during earth-clearing which ruled out that location. It has taken until now to find a suitable alternative.

Falkirk Trades Union Council secretary Duncan McCallum said: “After so long it was really exciting to discover work had begun on the site in Callendar Riggs. There have been a few problems along the way but this 
is undoubtedly a major event in Falkirk’s trade union 
history.”

The first Memorial Day was held in the USA in 1970 and since then is now marked around the world. A small plaque was erected by the Scottish Trades Union Congress in the entrance to Falkirk’s municipal buildings and has been the setting for wreath-laying services by Falkirk Trades Union Council for the last decade. Members wanted to provide a more prominent marker for the ceremony.

As well as honouring those who have died at work or as a result of work-related illnesses the annual event also serves to highlight the importance of strong health and safety legislation to protect workers.