Derek Maylor, Chairperson
Whilst the Coord website was formed primarily for CWU members we have always known that health, safety and environment cannot stop when you leave work. We need to address issues that affect our families and friends, our communities and both support and learn from other unions in the UK and beyond
This year the Coord has already responded to Defra, HSE, Law Commissions and EU/EC consultations as varied as Animal Welfare Sentencing; amendments to statutory guidance on assessments in lieu of tests; creation of a single Sentencing Code; regulations of LA public health activity; revised WELs (EC Directive 2017/164/EU); eco-design requirements for standby, networked standby and off mode electric power consumption and third party sales of puppies and kittens in England. Union Safety Reps generally are not merely for the workplace but much more involved in communities and campaigning.
We have previously said that we welcome the reorganisation of the CWU and see it as an opportunity to fully utilise Safety Reps in their whole role as Health, Safety and Environment Representatives - in the community and not just in the workplace. USRs are there to help look after your family, to improve the environment we all live in whether that is the trip to school and welfare within the school itself.
The streets we live in and the roads we drive on have all been affected by CWU campaigns over the years. Changes to Dangerous Dogs legislation that affect every community [not just Post men/women] came about largely because of the CWU Health, Safety and Environment Department who were supported by campaigning USRs around the country. Elsewhere on the website is a survey into the views of the CWU community on the future of health & safety within the union which is an important step in the Coord gathering information.
Early in May the Clean Air Bill will continue its journey through Parliament with a second reading in the House of Commons. This Bill will require the Secretary of State to set, measure, enforce and report on air quality targets throughout the UK so we can see where we have, and do not have, problems. Only then can we start to mitigate the air pollution and create clean air zones. We can also address vehicle emissions testing in a more informed manner.
Also in Parliament, but now on its way to the Lords, is the Assaults on Emergency Workers (Offences) Bill 2017-19 which the Coord had raised at CWU recent annual conference. The Bill starts form the point that an assault on anyone is wrong, but an attack on any emergency worker such as police, paramedics, doctor or nurse and so on is an attack on us all. There were over seventy thousand attacks on NHS staff in 2015-16 yet there were only 1,250 prosecutions.
The Bill deals with assaults on emergency workers it will send out a strong message to other public sector workers in areas such as our members who also face assault, that such attacks are not acceptable and society will no longer tolerate them.
Whilst fully supporting the Bill, the Coord would like utilities workers like BT and Royal Mail workers [exercising their normal duties] to be included under “workers in the exercise of their duty”. Under sections H, I or L – BT engineers are primary leads in facilitating the call to the emergency services. Government cuts and 22,000 less police on the streets do not help to increase the safety of our colleagues and other utility workers are just as vulnerable. In BT we have had multiple increasing verbal threats to members and assaults.
As always, and in conclusion; we aim to provide the best advice and representation for our members and to: