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Labour leader backs construction workers' safety fight

Labour leader backs construction workers' safety fight

12 June 2013

Ed Miliband the leader of the Labour party has backed a campaign to reverse the Tory-led government’s attacks on health and safety and ensure construction workers are safe at work.

Mr Miliband backed the campaign following a highly successful lobby of parliament organised by Ucatt and Unite yesterday (11 June) when over 200 construction workers met MPs and explained why the government’s attacks on safety were risking lives.

In his statement Mr Miliband said: “Britain needs better work. It needs jobs with higher skills and jobs that pay proper wages. It also needs workplaces that are safe and decent.

"That’s why I warmly welcome the efforts of people across the construction industry in making the case for safer standards at work.

“For far too many people in Britain the workplace is nasty, brutish and unfair because the government is failing to set the right rules and because a minority of employers take advantage of the system. Most businesses understand the importance of safety at work. But a minority do not. 

“David Cameron’s Conservative party might dismiss health and safety issues in the workplace, but it is not their safety at risk. The Labour party is committed to turning this round. Protecting people at work and keeping them safe should be the first priority of all employers. And the next Labour government will ensure that it is. “

Steve Murphy, general secretary of construction union Ucatt, said: “Ed Miliband’s support for construction safety is very welcome. It demonstrates that while the Conservatives and their Lib Dem lackeys are gambling with workers' lives, a future Labour government will not."

Unite general secretary, Len McCluskey, said: "It's good to see the Labour party throwing its weight behind the unions' campaign to reverse the Tory attack on health and safety laws. The Tories are determined to put big business first at the expense of safety. This is a disgrace because it sends the wrong message to employers and it puts lives at risk. At least construction workers now know that Labour is on their side."

ENDS

For further information contact Barckley Sumner from Ucatt on 0780 2329235 or Ciaran Naidoo from Unite on 07768 931315

Notes to editors: 

  • Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with 1.5 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.