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Taking action in higher education

Taking action to stand up for safe workplaces

10 February 2011 | last updated: 12 March 2019

A week of action to protest against proposed government cuts to the Health and Safety Executive budget is being organised by the Trade Union Co-ordinating Group (TUCG).

A focal event in the week of action will be a rally and meeting at the House of Commons on Wednesday 2 March, followed by lobbying of individual members of parliament. John McDonnell MP has put down an early day motion - EDM 1302 Health and Safety Week of Action - and is trying to get an adjournment debate for that week.

According to the HSE between April 2009 and March 2010

  • 152 people were fatally injured at work
  • There were 26,061 major injuries, such as amputations and burns, to employees
  • 1.3 million people were suffering from an illness believed to have been caused or made worse by their current or past work.

Yet the 'real' picture is likely to be even more damning given that these statistics relating to fatalities in the workplace provided by the HSE are an underestimate due to reporting inadequacies.

UCU health and safety advisor, John Bamford, said: 'The current legislative and enforcement framework is failing to protect workers.

'The government's proposals contained in Young Report (October 2010) not only fails to address the problems faced but will make things worse. On top of this, the HSE is now faced with budget cuts of 35 per cent. This will mean poorer enforcement and thus more workplace illnesses, injuries and deaths!

'Health and safety breaches are crimes. If you kill, injure or hurt someone, you expect to go to jail. Why is this different if you employ that someone? The fact is that hundreds of people in the UK are killed at work and untold millions suffer from occupational disease.'

The Trade Union Co-ordinating Group (TUCG) brings together ten national unions (BFAWU, FBU, NAPO , NUJ, NUT, PCS, POA, RMT, UCU and URTU) to co-ordinate campaigning activities.