Time is a healer. Or so it is said. Because, so often for families who lose loved ones because of work, the extended periods of time spent waiting and fighting for action, searching and battling for answers, simply serves to exacerbate the trauma we have suffered and which we will continue to suffer for all time.
We say that families deserve justice.
In fact what we really deserved was for our child…parent…sibling…spouse…partner…to have got home from work that fateful day. We deserved for them to have been kept safe and healthy. We deserved for corners not to have been cut, for profit not to have been put before people. We deserved so much more time with our loved ones. Decades upon decades which we have been denied.
And to add insult to our injury, we continue to have to wait for healthy and safe work to be recognised as a fundamental right by the ILO. Here we are, a year on from having pleaded for it last year, to find this surely most basic of recognitions, has not been approved by employers groups though the tide of support from Unions, Governments and some employers is growing.
For families of those who lose loved ones because of work, the extent of any healing very much depends on how we are treated over time. The scar tissue can only grow to cover and protect our grievous, grieving wounds, when we receive care and understanding.
And we get that in spades from those in our Hazards and trade union movements, and from joining forces with fellow FACKers – people we wished we’d never had to meet, but are eternally grateful that we did.
Most often our wounds are re-opened or are left festering because of failures by our enforcement and prosecuting authorities, by politicians, and by the employers who caused the wounds in the first place.
That’s not to say we never receive any care or understanding from those quarters. Because we sometimes do. But more often than not, the systems we should be able to rely on let us down so fundamentally, to the extent that we end up battling against a justice system which should work for us. And we have to do this when we are mired in shock and grief, our whole lives turned up-side down. We are all too frequently left feeling like we are the ones in the wrong, rather than the victims we in actual fact are.
More than anything, we want answers swiftly, so that those answers prompt action, and we can prevent others from having to become FACKers, to ensure others are saved from suffering the gut-wrenching heartache we are enduring.
Mick Collings, Chris Huxtable, Ken Cresswell and John Shaw are the 4 partners, husbands, dads, sons, uncles, who died in the Didcot collapse. It’s now more than 6 years since that fateful day.