Socialist Worker

Corporate manslaughter bill

Issue No. 2021

Two men died last week when a 165 foot machine collapsed onto a block of flats in Battersea, south west London.

The crane driver, employed by Norfolk-based Falcon Crane Hire, died when he was thrown from the machine cab in the accident on Tuesday. A man was crushed to death when he was hit by the crane as he washed his car.

Workers from the construction company Barratt gathered to pay their respects at the site of the collapse near Battersea power station.

Tony Woodley, the general secretary of the T&G union, offered his condolences to the men’s families as he addressed the Labour Party conference in Manchester.

He said he wanted individuals shown to be at fault to be prosecuted, not just their companies.

The site has been closed and the Health and Safety Executive is investigating.

A vote demanding that company directors be held liable for the deaths of their workers was won at the Labour conference.

Labour’s national executive committee was opposed to the motion, which called for legislation before parliament to be amended to ensure directors and senior managers could be jailed.

The current bill will prosecute companies instead of individual bosses. Fines will be imposed instead of jail sentences.

In the 30 years since the Health & Safety at Work Act was introduced, 10,000 people have been killed in work-related accidents. Only 11 company directors have been convicted of manslaughter and only five of these have been imprisoned.

Protest at parliament, 10-11.30am Tuesday 10 October, Old Place Yard/St Stephens Green, London. Called by Families Against Corporate Killers to mark the second reading of the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Bill.

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Sat 7 Oct 2006, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 2021
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