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Government threat to safety reps – get the message out there!

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One of the things that completely shows how the trade union bill is based on ideology rather than any desire to change things for the better is that the focus the Government is putting on the number of strikes we have. The right to strike is of course a basic right and is also an important last resort for unions on health and safety when all else fails. It is also at one of the lowest levels for decades.

What the Government is completely ignoring is the real problem at work, which is not the 0.8 million days lost through strike action but the 28.2 million days lost every year through injuries and injuries that are caused by work. These are all preventable, and the best way to prevent them? Having trade union health and safety representatives in the workplace. Union health and safety representation halves the number of serious injuries. It is therefore mindboggling that the Government are trying to restrict the ability of union health and safety representatives to do their work by telling employers in the public sector that they must cut back on the time that representatives are given to undertake inspections, meet with employers, and help protect everyone in the workplace (whether they are a union member or not).

The TUC has produced a simple “infographic” that illustrates the government approach. It comes in various forms for use in social media or simply print off and put on a notice board. It highlights the number of days lost, taken from HSE statistics, the number of days lost through strike action from the Government’s ONS, and finally the effect that unions have in the workplace in reducing serious injuries, which you can find in the TUC report “The union effect”.

Please circulate them as widely as possible. You can print off the poster and put it up in your workplace, send out the twitter version, and post the Facebook one. Also go to www.tuc.org.uk/tubill to find out more about why you should be concerned and of course – what you can do about it.

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