Going back decades, TUC Risks Newsletter was the most authoritative form of support for Union Safety Reps, and indeed was no doubt the ‘spark of influence’ that made so many trade union activists decide to become USR’s.
With Trade Union resources coming under increasing financial pressure, due to both loss of income and need to finance industrial action campaigns, Health and Safety and support for Union Safety Reps is becoming under resourced.
Many Trade Unions have no H&S Depts and indeed, as reported on this website previously, one major trade union's answer to financial pressures is to re-organise and cut the H&S Department resources to its bare minimum.
What many do not know is that the sponsor of TUC Risks has withdrawn their funding, and the TUC are unable to fund it themselves.
Following this decision by the TUC to no longer be able to support TUC Risks, Janet Newsham, Chair of Hazards Campaign, issued the following press release reproduced below in full; which is the first time majprity of USRs would have become aware of it ending:
Hazards Campaign Statement 28th June 2023
On Friday 23rd June a report was made to the Hazards Campaign meeting, that the newsletter RISKS has been cancelled by the TUC with immediate effect.
We are shocked and very alarmed at this decision, because for many Safety reps (especially from smaller trade unions with no dedicated health and safety department), this was their main weekly source of health and safety information.
RISKS provided information and analysis on what the government, the TUC, trade unions and other relevant organisations are doing, campaigns, workplace victories on health and safety and on-going struggles, relevant scientific and technical information on all aspects of health, safety, environment and Just Transition, in a readable format from trusted source as it was edited by Rory O’ Neill editor of Hazards Magazine.
RISKS has been invaluable for thousands of safety reps and union health and safety officers, for many years. It helped to create and network the community of safety reps, and health and safety activists across the UK in all unions, types of workplaces and sectors.
The sudden end of RISKS is a huge loss for us all.
Hazards is now THE ONLY magazine supporting USRs and promoting workplaces Health & Safety!'
In response to the TUC decision, Dave Joyce CWU's National Health, Safety, and Environment Officer wrote on Friday to Shelley Asquith at the TUC requesting information with regard to how and why this decision was made.
' I’ve received enquiries from Safety Reps and a copy of the Hazards Campaign statement dated and received today, regarding the TUC decision to end the TUC Health and Safety Risk Newsletter as of last Friday 23rd June.
TUC Risks has been in existence for around 15 years and has been a regular and reliable source of information over the years.
Can I have the reason for its demise?'
Shelley Asquith replied to Dave explaining the background fact that the TUC because of the loss of sponsorship, was forced to make the decision on financial grounds, to regrettefully cut the weekly publication as it is unable to replace at this time, the funding lost.
'I am disappointed to say that the TUC is no longer able to continue with the weekly ‘RISKS’ newsletter which you may or may not subscribe to. It goes out to an audience of thousands, of mostly H&S reps, with union and other news on health and safety matters, campaign actions and legal updates.
It has been going for many years, and you may know that Rory O’Neill, Editor of Hazards Magazine, has always written the content for it.
Thompson’s Solicitors had contributed the majority of funds for RISKS, as the sponsor of the newsletter, but they have unfortunately made the decision to terminate the sponsorship, which means we are no longer able to fund it.
This is very regrettable for several reasons, one of course being that this has been a useful resource for reps over the years.'
Many CWU USRs will be aware of Shelley's commitment to H&S having attended the CWU North West Region Health & Safety Forum's conference held in Manchester in July, last year, along with Dave Joyce (CWU) and Hilda Palmer (Hazards) when Shelley spoke about 'Long Covid' and took questions on a number of health & Safety concerns from USRs within the North West. This was fully reported by Unionsafety at the time.
The TUC being forced to make the decision to scrap one of their best publications (TUC Risks) for USR's due to the pulling of support by the sponsor, is an appalling decision to have had to be made, and one which compromises the Trade Union Movement's ability to priorities H&S and fight against the Tory attacks on much of our national H&S legislation, along with EU laws that protect workers across Europe.
It is hoped that a new sponsor can be found soon so that the TUC can then once again resource the publication of TUC Risks, which is of paramount importance to the UK's trade unions and their safety reps.
Source: TUC / CWU / Hazards