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Six Questions Branches Should Be Asking About The Future Of Health & Safety In The CWU

Despite CWU HQ insisting that there is no truth in the 'rumour' of the plan to get rid of the Health and Safety Dept which has only a budget of £19,000 for the year 2018/19 by merging it with another department and doing away also with the current regional health and safety forums; the rumours persist.

The support for this scenario comes from the Re-Design Branch Consultation document, and LTBS on the subject which makes no mention of Health & Safety within the CWU whatsoever! On the contrary, Young Workers, Equality, Education and Industrial Issue are mentioned - see Future Of CWU Health & Safety Dept And Regional Structures Set For Special Conference

Even more so, the deafening silence and apparent embargo on even mentioning Health & Safety in Re-Design documentation; simply begs a number of questions, not least why is the subject taboo and never mentioned in the same sentence or document as the word Re-Design?

So it is incumbent upon those proposing the merger of the Health & Safety dept with that of Legal and Medical, and the decision to slash an already small budget; to answer these six questions:

1. Who is going to lead on health and safety with our employers; do the H&S specific research, co-ordinate and promote Health & Safety campaigns, represent the CWU on the TUC's Health and Safety Committee, and interface with other Unions and organisations; after we have ditched the expertise and the dedicated department?

2. USRs and our members will want to know how merging the Health & Safety Dept and getting rid of regional health & safety structures will not damage the Union's ability to promote and lead on H&S issues, and to "Punch well above it's weight". Who will provide such information to them?

3. Will Branch's and national occupational officers keep up with current H&S legislation, and existing national health & Safety agreements with our employers and ensure it is part of local and national negotiations?

4. How will new and advanced health & safety agreements be negotiated with CWU member's employers?

5. Will merging the H&S Dept with Legal and Medical Dept make the CWU stronger and better resourced on protecting and promoting the health and safety of our members working environments not to mention providing the Union with the resources to deal with the political attacks on worker's rights most of which are health and safety matters rather than occupational; which will follow Brexit and the onslaught from the Tories?

6. Will Industrial Relations National and Branch Officers take up Health & Safety and provide the same level of resources and commitment to the issues, have the required expertise and understanding of H&S Legislation and CWU/Employer national agreements?

Or is the answer simply that the CWU can't afford as a Union to support and promote health and safety at work any longer?!

See also: TUC's Frances O'Grady Pays Tribute To Union Safety Reps

Source: unionsafety / cwu



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