A BLUE plaque remembering International Brigader Tommy James will be unveiled in All Saints’ Square.
The event, at noon on Wednesday, is being combined with International Workers’ Memorial Day, which is to focus on the Covid-19 efforts of health sector staff.
Trade unionist Tommy James was born in Rotherham Workhouse in 1898 and fought during the First World War.
He was also a local leader during the General Strike of 1936/37 and fought in the Spanish Civil War from 1937 to 1939, the latter experience becoming the subject of a book subtitled Lion of a Man.
Tommy later held the post of Rotherham Trades Union Council president and died in 1971.
The TUC is organising next week’s event with Rotherham District Civic Society, who put up the plaque in the town centre.
Spanish nurse Joan Pons Laplana, whose grandfather also fought against Franco’s fascist troops in Spain, will do the honours and speak about NHS deaths.
Over 1,000 of my colleagues have died,” he said. “They have given their lives to help and care for all of us.
“Death that could have been avoided. The government decided to ignore the health and safety concerns and failed to provide the right equipment to a lot of my colleagues.
“The government have failed their duty of care to the NHS workers. But they don’t care.
“They were told in 2016 about the potential effect of a pandemic but again the government decided to put their fingers into their ears and do nothing.
“Then the pandemic hit us hard, completely unprepared. It broke my heart seeing desperate nurses using bin bags because of the lack of PPE. Every one of their deaths have left a scar on my heart.”
Wreaths will be laid near Rotherham Minster after Wednesday’s event.