Date: Fri 25 March
warns Lib Dems - Don't take health and safety back to dark ages
The Coalition Government should abandon measures that would
drive a coach and horses through health and safety legislation.
That was the message today when UNISON lobbied senior Liberal
Democrat politicians at the party's Scottish conference.
In a victory for common sense, the House of Lords threw out out
a damaging clause in the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill
earlier this month. The Bill is now going back to the House of
Commons for further consideration.
UNISON is calling on Ministers to protect workers against careless
employers and agree not to reintroduce Clause 62 (formerly Clause
Patrick McGuire, of the union's law firm Thompsons, told senior
party members, including Deputy Chief Whip Alistair Carmichael,
that it would be absolutely wrong to continue with such an unfair
attack on people who are injured at work – one not specified
in the Coalition Agreement.
He added that doing so would "take us back to the dark
ages in terms of health and safety."
The clause would have amended Section 47 of the Health and
Safety of Work Act 1974, potentially removing the ability of
an employee to enforce a civil claim for workplace injury on
the grounds of a breach of workplace regulations, making it
virtually impossible for people to win compensation for injury
This highly contentious and far-reaching amendment to the Health
and Safety at Work Act was only introduced after the Committee
stage in the Commons, so has not been subject to the scrutiny
normally associated with such changes.
Patrick said that UNISON’s objections include:
- Savage impact
upon workers’ safety
- Entire health and safety regulatory
framework effectively rendered redundant
Utter disconnect from declared legislative intent
Complete disregard for views of Government’s own expert,
Illegal - will cost the taxpayer huge sums in legal challenge
and Francovich Damages
- Creates 2 tier health and safety regime making private workplaces
less safe and delivering no financial benefit to public employers
Workplace regulations are currently enforced because of
the threat and pursuit of civil injury claims. If this
reduced, irresponsible employers will ignore vital laws,
increasing workplace injuries.
For further information, see our briefing at: