Labour’s deputy leader, Cllr Amanda Evans, on World Day for Safety and Health at Work:
Thursday 28 April marks World Day for Safety and Health at Work, which was started back in 2003 by the International Labour Organization (ILO), the United Nations agency for the world of work.
Here in the UK, our rights and protections have been progressively eroded by 12 years of Conservative rule: both by (anti-union, anti-employee) changes in the law, and by draconian cuts to enforcement services. The Health and Safety Executive and local authorities like BHCC have lost more than 50% of their funding since 2010, with workplace inspections now likely to happen proactively only once every 250 years!
So, while there remain many good employers, the bad ones have no incentive to comply with even the weaker legal protections we still have, since they will almost certainly get away with any infractions.
The Labour Party have plans to change all that, publishing a comprehensive Employment Rights green paper at the most recent party conference, promising to put an end to the situation where millions of workers are falsely listed as ‘self-employed’ and have no protections whatsoever, and giving all workers rights from day one.
It also promises to restore the enforcement frameworks, to cut the number of preventable deaths and injuries in the workplace, as well as ensuring that employees and whistle-blowers are fairly treated, and firms held to account where rules are broken.
In the meantime, to ensure the best chance of keeping what rights we still enjoy currently, I would always encourage every worker in every workplace out there to join a union – we’re always stronger together than alone.
Cllr Amanda Evans