TUC calls for action on safety
The TUC is calling on unions and safety campaigners to challenge a government safety strategy that 'will lead to more work-related deaths, injuries and ill-health.' TUC head of safety Hugh Robertson has warned 'there has never been a more worrying time for health and safety,' adding four decades of political consensus around the importance of regulations that protect all workers 'has begun to fall apart.' Writing in Hazards magazine, Robertson calls for a nationwide day of action on 28 April, Workers' Memorial Day. 'Political interference, cuts and the overall deregulatory agenda mean the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) will lose much of its effectiveness and will suffer long term damage, while unions will find it much more difficult to operate,' he writes. 'This is not necessarily a deliberate plan by the coalition government to destroy the health and safety system. It is instead a by-product of a more general anti-worker, pro-business, anti-public sector agenda which is seen just as clearly in their approach to employment rights, public spending, taxation and pensions. It also comes from a lack of understanding of the workplace and occupational disease. However, whatever the motive, the effect will be the same - unless we stop it.' The TUC safety specialist says unions and campaigners should build a campaign for a safer, healthier alternative. 'TUC wants to use 28 April 2012 as the day when workers up and down the country take action to protect our health and safety,' Robertson adds. As Workers' Memorial Day this year falls on a Saturday, the focus will be shared between workplace activities and a TUC call on 'unions, trades councils, and others to make 28 April 2012 a 'Day of activity to defend health and safety'.' To help build the campaign, TUC says it will organise meetings of activists in every region of England as well as in Wales. The Scottish TUC will also be organising support for the day. In the fortnight before 28 April, unions will be asked to lobby local MPs. Most MPs surgeries fall on a Friday so there should be a lot on 27 April.
Issued: 9 December, 2011