Unite says ‘it’s time’ to legislate against negligent ...

Unite says ‘it’s time’ to legislate against negligent employers

26 November 2014

Unite Calling Notice

Where: Scottish parliament, Committee Room 3

When: 10:00 hrs Thursday 27 November 2014

Unite, Scotland’s biggest trade union, has welcomed new proposals to reform the law on culpable homicide which could see individual company directors face jail terms for workplace safety failings that result in fatalities.

North East MSP Richard Baker will launch the Culpable Homicide (Scotland) bill in the Scottish parliament tomorrow (Thursday 27 November), reviving an attempt for tougher legislation first put forward by former Clydesdale MSP Karen Gillon in 2006.

The previous attempt to legislate was shelved in the expectation that Westminster would introduce its own law, but the Corporate Manslaughter & Corporate Homicide Act 2007 made companies, not directors, liable for deaths caused by workplace safety negligence.

Unite is now calling on the Scottish government and opposition MSPs to support the new bill to better protect Scottish workers from lax workplace health and safety regimes in future.

Unite Scottish secretary Pat Rafferty said: “Strengthening the law in Scotland on corporate responsibility for workplace safety failures resulting in deaths is long overdue - it’s time to bridge this democratic deficit.

“Throughout the short history of our parliament, Scottish workers have, regrettably, been no strangers to death, from Stockline, the Flying Phantom to offshore helicopter tragedies.

“In 2012/13 22 people died at work in Scotland and the five year average is around 20 fatalities a year - that’s completely unacceptable when we have the power to do something about it.

“The environment is ripe for change. We have a new first minister, a new Justice Secretary and three people vying to be leader of the main opposition party; if they are serious about social justice and want to make Scottish workers safer then they will back this bill - as should the rest of the Scottish parliament.”


For further information please Peter Welsh, Unite Scotland Communications, on 07810157931