05 September 2016
The government has announced the appointment of Susan Johnson, former Chief Executive of Northern Business Forum, to a seat on the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) reserved for workers’ representatives. She was also previously a Director of Greggs.
According to the TUC, Ms Johnson has no background in representing workers and was not nominated or supported by any workers’ organisations. Furthermore, only two out of three workers’ representative seats on the HSE were advertised and no workers’ organisations were consulted on any of the appointments.
This is in direct contravention of The Health and Safety at Work Act, which states at the Secretary of State must consult workers’ bodies – such as trade unions – before making the three workers’ representative appointments.
Frances O’Grady, General Secretary of the TUC, said: “The government cannot appoint an employer to represent workers. It’s a blatant abuse of rules that are there to ensure a fair balance between workers and bosses.
“The HSE works best when employers and unions work together as equal partners, as intended by the Health and Safety at Work Act. By rejecting the consensus approach, the government is sending out a dangerous signal to bad bosses who put staff at risk by cutting corners.
“Along with the Trade Union Act, it’s a further attack on the ability of trade unions to protect the health and safety of working people.”
The TUC warned that this is the latest in a series of moves that work to lock out workers’ voices, including the abolition of joint industry groups that advised the HSE, and the decision to drop the right of trade unions to nominate members to the board of the Gangmasters Licensing Authority.