UNISONActive is an unofficial blog produced by UNISON activists for UNISON activists. Bringing news, briefings and events from a progressive left perspective.

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Like oil and water, Tories & Unions don’t mix

Tory MP Robert Halfon is given a platform by New Statesman to continue his one man crusade for a rapprochement between the Conservative Party and the 6.5m members (but not the leadership) of Britain’s trade unions: http://www.newstatesman.com/blogs/politics/2012/04/why-tories-should-embrace-trade-unions

Halfon comments that ‘it is worth noting, however, that not only are unions very much capitalist, they are essential components of the Big Society. They are the largest voluntary groups in the UK. They are rooted in local communities, and are very much social entrepreneurs. TUC research shows that trade union officers are eight times more likely to engage in voluntary work than the average.’

Halfon would do well to consider another recent piece of TUC research which would show why his Tories/Unions love-in project is doomed. In anticipation of the upcoming Workers’ Memorial Day on 28 April, the TUC estimates that 20,000 people die in the UK every year as a result of their work and a further 1.9m of working age people are living with an injury or illness caused or made worse by their jobs.

Yet, despite the UK’s appalling record on health and safety at work, in last month’s Budget statement Tory Chancellor Osborne announced that the government would scrap or improve 84% of Health and Safety and would no longer hold employers to be in breach of their duties in civil law if they have done everything that is reasonably practicable and foreseeable to protect their employees.

Actions speak louder than words and the Tory offensive against workplace safety shows that, as in the case of oil and water, Tories & Unions don’t mix!