Conservatives plan to slash workers' rights and workplace safety

Construction union UCATT have condemned the Conservative proposals to slash workers’ rights and to further erode workplace safety.

As part of the Conservative’s manifesto they are planning to make it virtually impossible to hold a lawful strike, especially in the public sector. If elected the Conservatives would introduce laws that would mean a strike would not be legal unless half the workforce voted. In the public sector a strike would not be legal unless 40 per cent of all those entitled to take part voted in favour of industrial action.

If the same rules applied to politicians then just 16 out of 650 MPs would have been legitimately elected, having received the support of at least 40% of their electorate.

Even if a strike met these huge hurdles the Conservatives are also proposing to make it much easier for employers to break strikes, by abolishing the laws which prevent the hiring of agency workers to replace striking workers.

Steve Murphy, General Secretary of UCATT, said: “These proposals demonstrate why the Conservatives are not the party of working people. They want to prevent workers from having the basic human right to withdraw their labour. They are an open door for employers to mistreat and exploit their workforce.”

The manifesto also strongly indicates that the Conservatives are planning a fresh attack on workplace safety. Their manifesto says: “We will cut a further £10 billion of red tape over the next Parliament though our Red Tape Challenge and our One-In-Two Out role.”

During the last five years the Conservatives have used such gimmicks as the Red-Tape Challenge to attack safety laws. This has led to the weakening of RIDDOR rules, the scrapping of the hard hat regulations and the tower crane regulations as well as rules which exclude most self-employed workers (but officially not those in construction) from the protection of the Health and Safety at Work Act.

Mr Murphy, added: “The Conservative attack on Red Tape is a thinly disguised attack on safety laws. Construction workers, who rely on safety legalisation to keep them safe, will be fearful that a political party is willing to risk their safety, for a few cheap headlines.”

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