Socialist Worker

Cameron ridiculed by safety reps conference

by Simon Hester, vice chair, Prospect HSE Branch
Issue No. 2269

David Cameron was ridiculed at the national conference of trade union health and safety reps organised by Hazards.

After the riots he made an absurd claim that health and safety legislation—alongside the Human Rights Act—has contributed to a collapse in moral values and led to the riots.

Hugh Robertson, TUC senior policy officer for health and safety, dispelled the myth.

He put Cameron’s speech in the context of the ideological attack on regulations that benefit workers.

The 400 delegates were clear that the trade union movement in Britain is facing a fight to defend workers’ rights. Defence of the HSE, the government watchdog on health and safety at work, took a high priority.

Cuts of 35 percent to HSE budgets, leading to the loss of hundreds of inspectors and support staff, the abandonment of “pro-active” inspection and yet another “review” of health and safety legislation were condemned.

Delegates discussed how to strengthen workplace organisation by recruiting more reps, and how to deal with employers who flout the law.

The conference also voted to support a Hazards contingent at the march against the Tory conference on 2 October, under the slogan “We didn’t vote to die at work”.

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Tue 13 Sep 2011, 18:23 BST
Issue No. 2269
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