for immediate use - 19 October 2007( Back to news releases)
Safe work is a human right not a privilege: Don’t let employers get away with murder
Families Against Corporate Killers (FACK) supports the International Human Rights Documentary Festival taking place at the CCA in Glasgow, especially the Saturday programme: ‘Don’t let employers get away with murder’ (1), and Karen Thompson campaigning for her partner Graham Meldrum who was killed in a lorry incident (2)
FACK (3), founded in July 2006 by a group of bereaved relatives who lost a family member through a work-related death, came together to campaign for justice as we feel employers are getting away with trivial penalties for killing people at work: the fine for killing 9 people in the ICL explosion is a case in point. FACK wanted the law on corporate killing changed to be more effective, and enable individual directors and mangers to be prosecuted where their gross negligence led to the death of a worker or member of the public, with the possibility of imprisonment as a penalty. FACK campaigned tirelessly at Westminster Parliament for amendments to the Corporate Manslaughter/Homicide Bill, but the Act which comes into force in April 2008 across the UK, is a huge disappointment to us and will not in our opinion bring rogue employers to justice, nor will it stop the slaughter of 1,500 to 1,700 workers and members of the public in work-related incidents every year.
During the passage of the Westminster Bill, Karen Gillon, (Labour MSP for Clydesdale), was campaigning in the Scottish parliament for separate culpable homicide legislation. In 2006 she presented a private member’s bill which would have delivered much of what we want in an effective law, including individual charges and imprisonment of directors. This Bill received cross party majority support but was withdrawn when Westminster claimed that health and safety was a reserved issue and the Bill would cover Scotland too.
Prior to the Scottish Parliamentary election, Alex Salmond and SNP candidates stated that their policy, should they gain power, would be to introduce distinct legislation as the Westminster bill was considered to be ‘inadequate and inappropriate’. Scottish members of Families Against Corporate Killers and Ian Tasker of the STUC, met with Karen Gillon on 12th October to discuss the present position and the way forward as since gaining power in Scotland, the SNP now say the Westminster Act is fit for purpose and separate Scottish legislation is not needed.
Dorothy Wright, a founder member of FACK said:
“FACK feels the SNP position is inconsistent and unacceptable and we urge them to honour their original commitment to bring forward Scottish specific legislation. We will be writing to every MSP explaining our aims, the urgency of implementing strong deterrent legislation in order to save lives and asking that all parties support this. We would like to meet with sympathetic MSPs in Edinburgh to put our case forward and to explain why the Westminster Act fails to address the problem.” (4)
FACK member Louise Adamson added
“FACK feels there is a huge groundswell of support for action now in the light of the ICL/ Stockline tragedy and that every single day of procrastination means more deaths and more families destroyed. Scotland has long been proud of its’ legal system and its’ strong sense of social justice. We, the Families Against Corporate Killers, demand that Scotland now lead the way in protecting its’ citizens’ lives instead of being the lapdog of Westminster.” (5)
1. International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival, 17th -21st October CCA, Glasgow Saturday 20th October 1.00pm t0 2.45pm “Don’t let employers get away with murder” Contact: Paula Larkin, Development Worker, Document - International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival, Tel: 00 44 141 357 4212 mobile: 07765396226, www.docfilmfest.org.uk
2. Karen Thompson’s partner Graham Meldrum was killed on 12th July 2005 I A lorry incident at Allied Bakeries in Glasgow. Karen is speaking at the Film Festival on Saturday and film about Graham ‘The Story of the Trike’ will be shown. Tel: 0141 6330487
3. FACK was launched in July 2006 with the support of the Hazards Campaign. We have spoken at many public meetings and conferences, launched FACK at the STUC in Scotland, and recently at International Workers Memorial Day 28th April in Edinburgh, Glasgow, York, Manchester and Oldham. .FACK leaflet and information available on website www.fack.org.uk
4. Dorothy and Douglas’ son Mark Wright was killed in an explosion at a recycling company in Chester on 13th April 2005 Tel 01475 670442, Mobile 07818442083.
5. Louise Adamson’s brother Michael was killed by electrocution at JJB Sports
4th August 2005 in Dundee. Mobile 07812 782 534