The Save Our Safety campaign was organised by trade unions UCATT and Unite. Andrew joined construction workers wearing hard hats holding a banner on College Green on the doorstep of Parliament.
Since the Tory-led Government took power there have been constant attacks on safety laws and regulations. By the end of this Parliament, the Health and Safety Executive will have seen its budget slashed by 35% and it has been forced to scrap many of its key services such as its Infoline.
As a result of both the Lofstedt and Young Report, many important safety regulations have been scrapped. These include the Tower Crane Regulations and Register and the Construction Head Protection Regulations. As part of the draft deregulation bill, the government is intent on making many self-employed workers exempt from the Health and Safety at Work Act.
Thanks to the Lofstedt Report and the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act, the government has made it far more difficult for a worker who has been injured at work to claim compensation. In the future, an injured worker will have to prove that their injury was caused by employer negligence.
Andrew Gwynne MP said:
“The government’s policies are increasing danger in the workplace. This will lead to a rise in deaths and injuries. Tory MPs need to listen to construction workers and ensure that the attacks on safety provisions are not only stopped but reversed.
“In today’s day and age, people should not be injured in the workplace thanks to entirely avoidable mistakes. Labour made a lot of progress on workplace safety, and it would be tragic if we allow the Tories to get away with diluting the regulations.”
Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said:
“It is a disgrace that construction workers wake up each day to face the prospect of being injured seriously, falling ill, or even dying while the Tories mock health and safety. It’s an outrage that the government essentially considers saving lives as a burden on business.
“Unite and UCATT are urging MPs to support our call to strengthen health and safety laws not weaken them as the Tories are doing.
“The government is sending a dangerous message to employers which will put even more construction workers at risk. To make matters worse the vital role that health and safety representatives play on site is being undermined by victimisation and blacklisting. Construction workers need urgent action, the government attack on health and safety must be reversed.”