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‘European Union legislation dealing with the safety of those at work is, generally speaking, founded on the principle of strict liability… The underlying economic theory is that the cost of workplace accidents is part of the cost of production of a good or service, …Moreover, strict liability has a further advantage over fault-based liability in that it acts as an incentive to reduce the incidence of hazardous activities;’
In July 2013, the Conservative-led UK Government introduced a fee system for Employment Tribunals. These costs are solely to be paid by employees. The employers do not have to pay to defend the action. This means that in order to lodge a claim employees are now required to pay a lodging fee of up to £250 and then a further £950 for the case to proceed to a hearing before a Judge.
The result has been a drastic drop in claims and severe restriction in access to justice for ordinary working people. Official statistics show a huge 81% drop in claims lodged between April and June 2014, compared to the same time in 2013.
The existence of a blacklist has, for years, been denounced as the thing of paranoid Trade Unionist conspiracies.
The practice of construction companies—large, trans-national, multi-billion pound corporations—keeping and trading names and lists of individuals who occasionally caused them bother, they said, was patently absurd.
This wisdom became received: mooted anti-blacklisting legislation was shelved by Tony Blair’s New Labour government in 2003 for the express reason that it would be folly to pass laws to solve problems that didn’t exist.
200 people arrested and 15 police officers injured. The 26th largest city in the United States plunged into turmoil and the cast into the global spotlight. The Baltimore riots began as a civil protest of Freddie Gray’s suspicious death whilst in police custody. Things quickly escalated to a state of emergency due to the violent acts of a minority of individuals.
Politicians often use terms such as “not fit for purpose”. It is a term that has been used about the fatal accident inquiry system in Scotland. It is a term, however, that is simply too anodyne and it is a term that completely fails to describe the gravity of matters.
As most of us are aware in the new post-referendum era, the issues upon which the Scottish Parliament can make law are restricted to those areas known as devolved matters. These social policy areas include education, health and local government, meaning that MSPs have the ability to make law that influences the lives of all of us in Scotland.
As the election campaign really heats up in the last remaining days before the big vote, we at Thompsons today launch our 2015 General Election manifesto.
As Scotland’s leading firm of solicitors dedicated to representing trade unions and victims of workplace injury and mistreatment, we have first hand experience of the deficiencies in our current laws. We see daily the extent to which the laws currently fail to fairly balance the relationship between employer and employee and between victims of accidents and insurers.
International Workers Memorial Day is an extremely important date in the calendar. It is the day we pause to remember those who have lost their lives to industrial indifference; and, in their memory, we vow to make things better and safer for future generations. That is inevitably done through the prism of our laws – the legislative change we have successfully campaigned for in the past and the legislation that we still need to change.