An award winning employment law firm is warning that new legislation coming into force at the beginning of next month (Tuesday 1st October) could result in a worrying increase in accidents and even deaths in the workplace. Under the new law the rights of Scottish workers will be reduced significantly leaving them exposed and vulnerable in the workplace, according to Thompsons Solicitors.
The Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act, which received Royal Ascent earlier this year, makes significant changes to employment law and the tribunal procedure. One of the most controversial parts of the Act is Clause 62 which removes a workers’ legal right to claim compensation should they be injured or involved in an accident at work.
Thompsons Partner Patrick McGuire is appalled the changes were voted through Parliament, he said: ““These changes were unashamedly voted in through the back door and will prove extremely damaging to workers all over the UK.
“Clause 62 of the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act is utterly draconian and effectively takes employment law and the rights of workers back to Victorian times leaving workers exposed and vulnerable while significantly reducing their access to justice following accident or injury in the work place.”
After next week, if a worker is injured or involved in an accident at work there is no longer a legal right for them to claim compensation for their injuries which were the direct result of a breach of health and safety regulations by their employer. Currently, it is through employees, backed by trade unions, bringing compensation claims under the health and safety regulations that has resulted in workplace deaths and injuries continually decreasing in number. Not only do civil damages claims allow employees access to compensation for their injuries, they also allow for lessons to be learned which in turn improves safety in the workplace.
Patrick McGuire added: “Under the amendment to the Act British workers will have the least protection in terms of health and safety since 1832. To describe the proposal as retrograde is an anodyne understatement. It is reckless, it is playing with people’s lives and it shall result in workplaces deaths and injuries increasing exponentially.”
Clause 62 is just one of many changes which will come into force on Tuesday following the enactment of the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act.
Notes to editors:
Thompsons Solicitors was named Employment Firm of the Year as well as Firm of the Year earlier this month at the Law Awards of Scotland.
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