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Trade unions have reiterated their call for a stron g International Labour Organisation (ILO) Convention to tackle gender-based violence at work. The meeting came after Unite’s warning in October that thousands of offshore workers were willing to strike over the issue. The union was commenting on a draft bill jointly proposed on 20 November by the select committees for Work and Pensions and Business Energy and Industrial Strategy. The headline-grabbing sexual harassment cases in politics, the media and entertainment are just a small indication of the ‘rampant’ abuse of workers, with low paid workers frequently the hidden victims. Replying to a letter dated 9 November from MP Andrea Leadsom that outlined the process and composition of the working group, the branch warned that the make-up of group, comprising 10 parliamentarians and two staff representatives, would lead to staff having ‘no confidence’ in the group’s results. The union, which has existing agreements with all the major employers in the industry, says it is uniquely placed to create meaningful change. Michelle Stanistreet, the union’s general secretary, said: “Such abuse of power needs to be stamped out.” In a statement, she added: “Newspaper and broadcasting organisations have a duty of care for their employees and people who work for them and it’s time they took that seriously.” NUJ statement. A confidential survey of workers employed by Mears in Manchester and the Mears-run joint venture Manchester Working has revealed ‘truly shocking’ levels of mental health problems and stress among its workforce. Rail union RMT has written to the rail safety regulator itemising a series of serious safety lapses during last week’s strike action on South Western Railway (SWR). Maria Ludkin, GMB legal director, said: “This landmark decision is yet more vindication of GMB’s campaign to ensure drivers are given the rights they are entitled to - and that the public, drivers and passengers are kept safe.” GMB news release. Email your examples to the TUC health and safety department. Unite’s parliamentary branch has expressed ‘deep concern’ over the lack of staff ‘voice’ in a working group proposed by the leader of the House of Commons to tackle harassment, bullying and abuses of power in parliament and the constituencies. Unite petition calling for union recognition for parliamentary staff. Performers’ union Equity is launching an investigation into practical ways to combat sexual harassment and the fear of disclosure in the theatre, film, TV, audio and new media industries. Journalists’ union NUJ has said it is crucial that the workplace cultures that allow predatory behaviour and sexual harassment to flourish are dismantled. In a landmark victory for the union GMB, taxi firm Uber has lost an appeal against a ruling that its drivers should be treated as workers rather than self-employed. Employers should be extra vigilant during the office Christmas party season, when sexual harassment can be a particular problem, the TUC has said. Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union may end up with stronger guarantees of animal rights than workers’ health and safety rights if the government has its way, the TUC has said. The employment tribunal claims, submitted by the union GMB, argue there has been a failure by Royal Mail to pay its Parcelforce drivers the national minimum wage and holiday pay. Percy Seaward, a barrister representing the FBU, told the newly opened inquiry that Steven Mc Guirk, a former chief fire officer in Greater Manchester, would be “conflicted” and “compromised” in giving evidence. Rail union RMT has demanded urgent action over rodent infestations on Virgin Trains East Coast (VTEC) after pictures emerged showing droppings in the food preparation and kitchen areas on one of the company’s trains. Staff who feel they are treated unfairly at work are at increased risk of being off sick more frequently and for longer, according to new research by the University of East Anglia and Stockholm University. Interactional justice at work is related to sickness absence: a study using repeated measures in the Swedish working population, BMC Public Health, volume 17, number 912, published online 8 December 2017. Workers who are subject to sexual harassment at work suffer more sickness and are at risk of a wide range of serious health problems as a consequence, a new report has said. The documents held by building products giant Cape – previously an asbestos multinational – were due to be destroyed. Graham Dring v Cape Distribution Limited, Cape Intermediate Holdings Limited, Concept 70 Limited (and others) Aviva Plc, 5 December 2017. Legal action has been launched against Royal Mail Group Limited on behalf of four courier drivers who claim that the former public service does not provide them with basic employment rights. Firefighters’ union FBU has called for one of the key experts appointed by the Grenfell Tower inquiry to stand down because of his support in the past for cuts to fire services and deregulation. The High Court has declared that secret historical documents that show how much the asbestos industry knew about an emerging occupational disease epidemic must be preserved and shared with parties not involved in the original litigation where their existence was first revealed. The tragedy on 9 November 2016 resulted in seven fatalities and dozens of injuries after a tram overturned in Croydon, south London. Shopworkers are calling on the government to introduce an additional penalty for those who assault workers in the course of their duties. Global footwear retailers should create transparent leather and shoe supply chains and take action to improve shoe workers’ rights, campaigners have said. Zoë Krupka, who is also a postgraduate researcher at the Faculty of Health Sciences at La Trobe University, Australia, commented: “We’re working longer hours than ever before, and as our employment conditions continue to worsen, they’re simply repackaged into a new version of normal in an effort to make the truly pathological state of many of our workplaces appear acceptable.” The Conversation. Manchester Magistrates’ Court heard how, on 29 September 2016, the four-year-old pupil, who had been at St Joseph’s RC Primary School for three weeks, was allowed to use the girls’ toilet unsupervised, and was found by staff with her fingers trapped in the hinges of the toilet door. “Confronted on a daily basis by human misery, violence and the worst that you can find in humans, police can no longer put up with a lack of consideration towards them, which is a factor in these tragic acts,” said the Unité-SGP police union. Many are working when sick, working unpaid overtime and going throughout the year without a paid holiday, the Opinium survey commissioned by the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) found. The gig is up: Trade unions tackling insecure work, TUC, June 2017. Channelling workers to workplace wellness practitioners but not addressing the problems rooted in the job is not going to make things better, a wellness practitioner has warned. The board of governors at a primary school has been fined after a reception pupil lost part of a finger after it was trapped in a toilet door. The French government has been forced to act after eight police officers including a high-profile former police chief killed themselves in the same week. It overturned an appeal court's decision in the case of Lee Yoon-jung, who was diagnosed with a brain tumour at age 30 and died two years later.
The miners worked for an Areva subsidiary - the Compagnie des mines d'uranium de Franceville, better known by its abbreviation of COMUF. The education unions making up JUAC are asking staff to ensure that Christmas decorations, children’s artwork and other materials are safety attached to ceilings and walls and are not attached to surfaces containing asbestos using pins or staples. A confidential Unite survey of members employed by MPs and Lords has revealed a ‘toxic’ working environment, with many staff suffering stress and bullying. Government’s plans to step up the testing of driverless vehicles on Britain’s roads have been condemned by transport union RMT as a “lethal gimmick that puts safety, jobs and the economy at risk.” RMT, which represents bus, haulage and taxi drivers, said the plan, is a “desperate measure by a desperate government in advance of a budget which is expected to confirm austerity and misery way off into the future.” RMT news release. The union is calling for lorry drivers to be treated with dignity. A government bill says drones weighing more than 250g could also be banned from flying near airports, or above 400 ft, in a crackdown on unsafe flying. GMB members were speaking out after paramedic Colin Bolsom, 42, was found dead in a Bideford park in a suspected suicide. A primary school teacher and father-of-two who killed himself had suffered pressure at work, an inquest has heard. Suicide by Occupation 2011-2015, Office for National Statistics, March 2017. Amazon warehouse workers are so exhausted by long hours and relentless targets they are falling asleep on their feet, according to a new investigation. JML Road Surfacing boss Jacob Hendry was prosecuted after Viorel Vicol was killed by an 11,000 volt electric shock at his Kirknewton yard on 3 June 2015. Richard Brown, 48, died when a forklift truck unloading two pallets of kitchen worktops ‘overbalanced’ at Howden Joinery's Workington site on 10 November 2014. The union says the Rail Safety and Standards Board (RSSB) must address the increasing danger to passengers at the ‘Platform Train Interface’. The statement commits parliament to a new independent complaints and grievance procedure. EIS general secretary Larry Flanagan said the union had “observed an alarming rise in the number of cases of work-related stress illness and injury claims over the past few years.” EIS news release. IER news release and report, Blacklisting: The Need for a Public Inquiry, IER, December 2017. The owners of a farm have been ordered to pay almost £100,000 after a scrap metal collector was electrocuted when his crane hit overhead power lines. Sentencing Kier Integrated Services and Ipswich-based Sean Hegarty Ltd, Judge Martyn Levett said the death of 34-year-old Aidan Gallagher in 2014 was “avoidable”. Independent Complaints and Grievance Policy, Hansard, 21 December 2017. Edward Evans, 52, was killed as he attempted to collect broken lightweight metal cages by prior arrangement, from Holme Farm in Ince on 17 January 2015. The three-year appointment of Anthony Browne as the new chair of the Regulatory Policy Committee (RPC) “stinks,” said TUC head of safety Hugh Robertson, adding: “It is basically a power grab that allows the government to claim that appointments are independent when in actual fact ministers are just hand-picking people that they know will be unlikely to challenge their policies or rock the boat.” Department for Business news release. Southwark Crown Court heard how Damian Bowen was asphyxiated whilst working with liquid nitrogen at St Stephens Centre Laboratory, owned by Chelsea & Westminster NHS Trust. On 4 October 2016 the worker at HSE’s laboratory in Buxton suffered serious burns while setting up an experimental hydrogen test rig. It says the guidance is intended to ensure that appropriate measures are put in place to protect members from exposure to hazardous substances. About one hundred workers at Eurotec Electronics in the southern China manufacturing city of Zhongshan went on strike on 6 December in protest at dangerous working conditions. Workers at US meat and poultry processing plants are reluctant to tell federal health and safety inspectors about injuries or workplace hazards because of concerns they could lose their jobs, according to a government report. Jessica Martinez, co-executive director of the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health, said: “It's essentially the Tinder economy,” adding: “When a temp worker is done with his or her shift, the boss swipes left and claims to have no further obligation.” Here and Now, NPR. The strategy, ‘Improving lives: The future of work, health and disability’, is billed as the government’s vision for a ten-year programme of reform. DWP/Do H news release and strategy, Improving lives: the future of work, health and disability, and fit note webpages. The ‘independent’ committee overseeing the government’s approach to regulation is to be headed by a right-wing policy wonk and banker. Chelsea & Westminster NHS Trust and Imperial College London have been fined after the death of a lone worker. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has handed itself a formal rebuke after a worker at its laboratory was injured. Unite has published new guidance to help members negotiate policies around the issue of facial hair and respiratory protective equipment (RPE). With the rise of the so-called gig economy, workers’ advocates and some US state departments of labour are raising concerns about employees who are forced to sign agreements that free their employers from keeping them safe. A new government work, health and disability strategy aimed at ‘improving lives’ will do nothing to reduce the enormous toll from work-related ill-health, the TUC has said. The poll shows that two-thirds (66 per cent) of zero hours workers would rather have a contract with guaranteed hours and just one in four zero hours workers (25 per cent) say they prefer being on zero hours contracts.
Taxi firm Uber could be putting passengers and the public at risk by letting its employees work more than 80 hours a week, Labour’s Rachel Reeves has said. South West Highways Limited has been fined £500,000 after the death of a worker who was struck by a vehicle. Judge Huw Rees at Caernarfon Crown Court said: “This was a cost-cutting exercise at the expense of the safety of employees and other people.” HSE news release. Westminster Magistrates’ Court heard how, on 3 July 2015, two social workers employed by the London Borough of Brent visited the home of a vulnerable child to carry out a child safety plan assessment. The criminal safety breaches were identified at Plasterboard Recycling Solutions Ltd during a routine Health and Safety Executive (HSE) inspection of their premises in Bedfordshire.