LABOUR must go further in its pledges to roll back attacks on workers’ rights, influential backbencher John Cryer MP said yesterday as people gathered nationwide to mark Workers’ Memorial Day.
At a rally in Waltham Forest, where a construction worker was crushed by a collapsed wall earlier this month, the Labour Party chairman and local MP called for a change of law to make individuals, and not just companies, liable for corporate manslaughter prosecutions.
Praising Labour’s commitment to a full inquiry into the blacklisting scandal, Mr Cryer said: “We’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg when it comes to blacklisting.”
He also called on Labour to reverse a judicial ruling barring compensation claims for collapsed lungs, saying: “We need to go a lot further in the manifesto.”
Unison national health and safety officer Vincent Bourke slammed the government for “undermining and belittling good practice” over health and safety, leaving lives at risk.
And NUT officer Steve White said workload in schools had proved fatal in some cases since the introduction of performance-related pay.
“Teachers are working 60-70 hours to meet these targets,” he said. “It’s not sustainable.
“I have had members die of stress in this borough.”
Elsewhere, Unite’s recently-established hotel workers’ branch held a demonstration outside the Metropole hotel in Edgware Road, west London, to protest against being “treated like machines.”
“We stand up to the hotel chains to say we will unionise, we will organise, and we will win our dignity, respect and health,” the workers said in a statement.
At the Waltham Forest rally another local MP, shadow crime minister Stella Creasy, slammed Tories for saying they wanted to “kill off” health and safety protections.
Last week the Star reported that Marian Nemit, a 21-year-old Romanian builder, had lost his life when working on a renovation job in Leyton.
“To think that just 22 days ago somebody in our borough lost their life in the workplace is a sobering reminder of just how important it is to fight for health and safety legislation,” Ms Creasy said.