Thursday, 2 May 2019

Off to work - a moving poem by Graeme Farquhar for Workers' Memorial Day

Graeme reads his poem to a hushed crowd
A moving poem written by Graeme Farquhar, Unite and read by him at the International Workers' Memorial Day service on 28th April 2019, it highlights the causes and impact on their families of those who are killed doing their job.


"Off to work he kisses his wife’s cheek

Goodbye Linda see you at the end of the week

Working on a building site 200 miles from home

Blacklisted by employers George will always moan

A good trade union member he has always been

Always ready to report a bad health and safety scene

No greedy profit on site with safety reps being there

The poor employers their pockets would be bare

So don’t give George a job on site

And employers’ profits will always be right



On Friday morning he is thinking of not being alone

Another seven hours and he will be heading home

George’s mobile sparks to life

A phone call from Linda his darling  wife

Congratulations George you have just become a granda

Remember on the way home to pick up that toy panda




George walks from the canteen in a sprightly manner

Thinking of home and making a banner

Dreaming of the future and dancing at his grand

daughters wedding

He will see her soon as for home he is heading



He goes to the site office to see his bosses

They are in a meeting discussing potential losses

He asks if he can go home soon

As he has a new grand daughter and is over the moon

The boss tells him about a loose pipe on the roof top

And if he fixes it now then he can stop



George looks up at the job

And with excitement he begins to sob

The costly scaffold it has long gone

So he grabs a ladder and dances over like a swan

Up the ladder to fix the pipe

Another twenty minutes and he will be on his bike



He climbs off the ladder up to the peak

And the blood flows from his cheek

He steps on moss upon the roof

And his footing it goes all aloof

From twenty metres George does fall

And he gives out one massive bawl

The paramedics they didn’t take long

But poor old George he was already  gone



The bosses in their ivory tower

Stopped his wages because it was in their power

Sitting in their Armani suits

Drinking out of champagne flutes

We never told him to use a ladder

They slithered from the blame like a venomous adder

Crocodile tears they did shed

They thought oh my God George is dead

We must lose no more money on this site

Call the agency and get another man in that is right



Meanwhile Linda is at home as high as a kite

Arranging a 60th birthday party for George that night

30 friends and family have arrived at the house

Hiding in the garden and being as quite as a mouse

Suddenly there is a knock at the door

And Linda thinks George has left his keys on the floor

All his friends come to the front

They shout surprise as a little stunt

The door is open and a policeman stands tall

And poor old Linda to the ground she falls"





Graeme Farquhar    Unite


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