Press Release: For immediate release – 7.10.22
Today is the ITUC World Day for Decent Work (1). Decent work is a hallmark of a progressive society, but the Governments actions this week show they don’t want it, wont police it, and thinks workers shouldn’t have the power to defend it.
Workers are facing ever rising, unrelenting workloads, never ending working hours, with emails and phone calls at all times of the day and night, a disappearing work/life balance and hundreds of thousands of workers off sick with mental ill health and long-covid disabilities.
The latest proposed bonfire of employment and health and safety regulations of everything that originated in the EU and the shackling of trade unions, will place workers enslaved in low paid, dangerous unhealthy work at the behest of unscrupulous employers. At a time when modern slavery is increasing, the 5th richest nation Government could be adding to it.
None of us voted to die at work, but the policies of this government will mean an increasing number of us will. They will die because they cannot afford to give up work to retire, they will die because of the stress of having to work multiple jobs to pay their mortgages or energy bills, they will die because their employer will not have to assess and control the risks to their health and safety, they will die in their communities from exposure to toxic substances or unleashed viruses.
This Government are choosing not to value the lives of ordinary working people and at the same time ‘raiding’ the public purse to reduce the tax burden on the wealthy, without any scrutiny or electoral mandate.
They are about to plunge us into more despair. They are coming after our working conditions, our safety at work and our future health. And if they succeed, they will let bad employers determine the number of working hours people work, whether they will pay for holidays, whether we have maternity leave or sick pay, the ability to retain contracts when our organisations are outsourced, to name a few. There could be no standard for the PPE provided by employers when we work with hazardous substances, no right to have it provided free by your employer, no minimum standards of welfare at work. They will literally be able to work us to death! As Rory O’Neill says in the Hazards Magazine (2) they have ‘plans for a lawless, dangerous and disposable worker UK plc!
At the heart of decent jobs and decent lives, workers need a health and safety system with strong laws, strict enforcement and strong, organised, and active trade unions.
For more information:
Janet Newsham – Chair UK Hazards Campaign