Use it or loose it is an often quoted phrase, but it could not be more suitable to the situation all Union Safety Reps now find themselves in:
Attacks from all sides on their roles and responsibilities, not only from the Tory Government, but from within some Trade Unions and the so-called unbiased ACAS; as the role of Union Safety Rep is being squeezed into joint roles of IR/Safety Rep as reported by some USRs at the TUC's Health & Safety event held to celebrate 150 of the TUC in June this year.
Last year this government totally compromised the Safety Reps and Safety Committee Regulations (The Brown Book) by crucifying PCS Trade Union's safety reps facilities by lumping them in with the facilities of union reps doing IR work.
Earlier this year, Post Office Limited was able to do the same by introducing that which the CWU claimed was proposed by ACAS; a new role of IR/USR reps and doing away with USR facility time altogether!
With Brexit being the enabler by which this Tory Government will be able to decimate worker's rights and Health, Safety and Environmental legislation, not to mention fracking and food safety standards being watered-down as part of any UK/US Trade Deal; the 'hostile environment' being created will require every piece of existing legislation to be used in the fight to defend Union Safety Reps existing rights, roles and responsibilitiues.
With official figures from the HSE showing that in workplaces which have traditional Union Safety Reps active, there is 50% less accidents injuries and subsequent lost time and a reduction in training costs with fewer workers needing to be replaced by new recruitment of staff.
With the very great prospect of the UK being over-run with American Union Busting companies, the Trade Union Movement needs to be geared up and utilise all current legislation to make and save agreements with employers. Health & Safety Legislation will be the first 'easy target' of such companies and the Tory Government post-brexit in a society whose media belittles Health and Safety at Work and a HSE which is neutered by Tory policy.
Only this week, Andrew Haldane, Chief Economist at the Bank of England, has pointed out the decline of trade unionism as a key reason for the stagnation in real wages over the last ten years.
Further still, Health & Safety regulations aimed at ensuring USRs can go about their business of helping to protect workers from injury and death at work, will be next and is already on the agenda of Liam Fox, UK Trade Minister post-Brexit who has made it clear that 'Worker's Rights' are a barrier to productivity and to profits and need to be removed.
What is Union Busting?
In the USA and more commonly than you think in the UK; Solitictors or company legal departments and “staff-management” consulting firms get paid to help employers keep workers from exercising their right to form or join a Trade Union. Usually in the UK, they are employed to stop workers voting in recognition rights for the Trade Union which covers their industry.
Companies also send managers and supervisors to union-busting seminars and follow consultant-prepared “scripts” for keeping Unions out. They often pay employees to keep the union out — instead of putting that money into better pay, and healthy and safe working conditions for employees. They believe that if they defeat a vote to bring in a Union once, following the script, they won’t have to do it again.
As far back as the coalition Government in 2010 in the UK, both the media and the Government have vi;lified workplace health & safety as being some 'killjoy' and cripling waste of time and money stopping business from being productive and maximising their profits.
Their 'Red Tape' challenge still exists today and as a result hundreds of necessary health and safety legislation has been withdrawn from statute and either not been replaced or watered down versiosn have been introduced.
If Union Safety Reps do not utilise their 'Brown Book' of legislation, then health & safety at work activity and legislation, dill be 'driven down' too, with the resultant massive increase in accidents, injuries and deaths at work!
Click the pic above to download the document from our E-Library Database. Use search criteria 'brown book'
Source: unionsafety / IER / The Indepentent