2023-08-25 10:28

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CWU Safety Community Gives Up On Saving Health And Safety

With there being total silence from the CWU's Health and Safety Forums for some 3 months since the meeting with the CWU General Secretary Dave Ward which was held on 28th November 2018, and no further meetings having taken place; those concerned about the structure of health & safety within the CWU and the H&S Dept itself, can be forgiven for thinking that the H&S Forums have simply acquiesced to the wishes of those involved in developing the Re-Design Strategy.

The SOS Campaign which started the fight back against the CWU Redesign plans to either merge the department or close it down and consequently to reduce the effectiveness of the Union's thousands of Safety Reps and Area Safety Reps, was started in the North West culminating in a draft H&S Strategy document.

In the meeting with the Union's General Secretary last November, the final version of the SOS Campaign document was presented by members of the Health & Safety Forum's. It was reported soon after that meeting that those from the NEC and the General Secretary, were impressed with the professionalism of the document and stated that future meetings would take place once they had put together a response to the SOS Strategy document.

To date, no further meetings between the parties concerned has taken place!

At the time, Derek Maylor, Chair of the North West BTU Health & Safety Co-ord wrote this comment in this website's news item entitled Health & Safety SOS Campaign Meeting With CWU's GS A Resounding Success :

"We have raised concerns over the last few months that the restructuring of the CWU may not best serve the welfare of the members or the communities where we live and work so it was satisfying that the research and work that had been put together was received, respected and treated in the professional manner in which it had been compiled."

In conclusion Derek said:

"Many of the issues that had been worrying Safety Reps have been allayed and we look forward to participating in the working party that has resulted for the benefits of the members, the CWU and our communities where we are active."

We eagerly awaited the imminent formal response to our document from the General Secretary, that he promised would be forthcoming with urgency.

Nothing was then heard from the General Secretary's office. Despite further prompting, it was not until late 28th December that a response was received, and one which was not as supportive as had been though would be the case. Hardly the 'urgent response' the H&S Community was promised.

The last two sentences in the final paragraph of the letter from the General Secretary which talk of future meetings, sums up the tone of a quite muted response:

"At that meeting we should focus on how various elements will be taken forward and where the appropriate responsibility sits for each point.

We should also engage in a constructive discussion on the best way to join up this work with the relevant structures of the union."

The full letter dated 18th December can be downloaded here.

However, it is clear that the intention is not to amend in any way shape or form the re-structuring plans for the Union:

"On the section covering structures, as I said at the meeting, this is part of a wider debate and the real test will ultimately be what is affordable and how we connect our structures across the union. As you know, the Redesign Conference has agreed some of this. When it comes to the restructuring of CWU Headquarters, this is something I am leading on and my responsibility is to deal with this element with our employees."

From this it is safe to gather that the H&S Department and Health & Safety in general was seen as purely a way of saving money by removing the department and as much expenditure as possible to the Union of supporting USR/ASRs and minimising their say at national, regional and local levels. Arbitrarily removing Health and Wellbeing along with Mental Health from the remit of the Health & Safety Dept and from Branch and Regional USR/ASRs, was the first move to allow IR reps to take over the work, especially within the T&FS where false claims that USRs never get involved with these issues at local level, were made as the excuse to do so.

In a personal comment to this article, Web Editor Chris Ingram said:

"It seems to me and other's within the H&S Community that as nothing further has been forthcoming from the Health & Safety Forums, nor from CWU HQ; all the months of hard work by the Save Our Safety Campaign in the North West; rendered inconsequential and the campaign itself made nil and void once the H&S Forums of the Union hijacked the campaign taking it over and dismissing those who wrote the original document and initiated the campaign in the first place. Up until those in the North West started the SOS Campaign, none of the H&S Forums had even commented privately about the negative effects of Re-Design upon the Health & Safety Dept and structures within the Union."

He concluded:

" Thank God for the passing of Composite Motion 54 at the Re-Design Conference and for the CWU Branches of Plymouth and East Cornwall, Western Counties, and Cornwall Amalgamated Branch; who brought the motion to conference.

As a result of the passing of this motion the voice of the Health and Safety Community within the CWU has not been silenced, and the ability to make health & safety policy at the Union’s annual conference was not lost as a consequence of the intentions of Re-Design."

Source: Unionsafety / Derek Maylor / Chris Ingram

See also:

Future Voice Of Health & Safety In CWU Saved From Re-Design By Special Conference Motion 54

Health & Safety SOS Campaign Meeting With CWU's GS A Resounding Success

Save Our Safety Campaign Publishes Report Into Future Of Health & Safety Organisation In CWU

Some Things Are Worth Fighting For - Union Health And Safety IS A Matter Of Life & Death

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