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114 year Workers Rights Scrapped by Coalition Government.

(18 Posts)
ttosca Sun 16-Feb-14 12:40:08

So, it’s official – workers today have less entitlement to be safe at work than those in Victorian Times. That the Government supports those who work and strive to support families is a nonsense. Consistently, we witness the Coalition continuously and callously attack ordinary working people. David Cameron rejoices at a return to the Victorian “Golden Age”. (1)

Victorian Era Workers’ Rights Scrapped By Coalition:

Last week, on the 25th April 2013, the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill was granted royal assent, bringing into law the government’s widely unpopular proposals to scrap employers’ 114-year-old liability for their staff’s health and safety in the workplace.

This means that the burden of proof now falls on the employee to show that the employer had been negligent in their duties towards them, rather than the employer being asked to prove they were following regulations correctly, as has been the case since the Victorian era. This is likely to result in injured workers, and the families of the deceased, being unable to claim compensation for their losses due to accidents at the workplace, seeing as the evidence needed to prove negligence is held by the employer rather than the employee – and employers guilty of negligence are unlikely to willingly hand over the proof. (2)

tryingreallytrying Sun 16-Feb-14 18:39:11


Why has this not been publicised???

LauraBridges Sun 16-Feb-14 19:05:24

I don't think it is unreasonable to expect a worker to prove they were injured at work. It seems perfectly sensible to me.

tryingreallytrying Sun 16-Feb-14 20:50:27

Er...Laura, who do you think can afford better legal representation? Who do you think is in a position to have and/or hide the evidence?

How difficult would it be for an employee - presumably an injured one, at that - to find the evidence to prove the company was negligent? Do you think the company would willingly hand this info over if they didn't have to?

And how do you "prove" the absence of something? You can prove something exists - eg the company can prove they have rules or policies, as under the old system. But how does an employee - or ex-employee - prove they don't have something?

What this will mean is that the most vulnerable in our society will have no effective redress for injury or worse.

Whilst unscrupulous employers are free to maim and kill as they wish.

Bloody hell.

OberonTheHopeful Sun 16-Feb-14 23:13:22

This is the first that I have heard of this measure. It seems to have been introduced with little public debate sad

MiscellaneousAssortment Sun 16-Feb-14 23:29:11

Oh dear. The last few years have been bad for so many people. I wish it would end soon sad

OberonTheHopeful Sun 16-Feb-14 23:31:52

It really seems that some politicians are using the recession as an excuse to introduce all kinds of regressive measures.

NiceTabard Tue 18-Feb-14 16:58:36

Oh FFS @ everything at the moment.

The only purpose of changing this law is to protect businesses and stitch up individual workers. There is no other reason whatsoever that I can think of for this change.

Tory bastards.

NiceTabard Tue 18-Feb-14 16:59:44

HOW is this stuff all getting through without people noticing? There have been loads of weird and awful and important changes in the last couple of years with people only finding out after the event & it all being quiet.

Where is the press?? Where are labour & other parties?? How is this happening? FFS again.

SofaKing Tue 18-Feb-14 17:09:59

Back to 19th century working practices, just like that. All the rights fought for for generations, scrapped without the knowledge or consent of the workers for whom they were put in place.

So, so ashamed to live in times like these.

MrJudgeyPants Fri 21-Feb-14 21:37:53

It makes perfect sense and is a good idea. Furthermore, it will lead to improved safety for workers and here's why. At the moment companies have to prove that they've taken 'reasonable' steps to prevent any accident. In reality, this means that as long as there's a sheaf of paperwork covering risk assessments, method statements and some basic training, companies will usually get away, in some instances, with murder. Putting the onus onto the employee to prove their employers negligence will highlight any limitations with the current practice.

To give an example from personal experience, several years ago I was working for a well known service company when one of my colleagues was involved in a fatal road traffic accident in a company vehicle whilst travelling between the site he was working on and home. The background was that the victim had been working a mixture of day and night shifts without sufficient downtime to readjust his body clock.

The H&S policy was not to drive a vehicle if you were tired, however, our manager was making some unreasonable demands to get the job done.

Under the current system, the policy trumped all. The victim shouldn't have been driving and our employer got away scot free. Under the new system, the victims family could have at least argued that it was the boss' unreasonableness which contributed to the accident.

ParsingFancy Fri 21-Feb-14 21:54:37

It's already well established that bosses can be held responsible when their unreasonable demands lead to accidents.

In the Grayrigg train crash, Network Rail Infrastructure were fined £4 million. The actual person who made the individual mistake was not.

Completely agree with PP: this shifts the burden of proof onto the party least able to prove it.

MrJudgeyPants Fri 21-Feb-14 22:14:10

Perhaps, but in the case I was referring to, my former employers defence started and ended with the risk assessment which simply stated "don't drive when you're tired". The actions of the manager, or the victims disturbed sleep patterns, were never even mentioned in court.

Pardon my French but it was a fucking whitewash and the manager in question, in my opinion, got away with murder.

ParsingFancy Fri 21-Feb-14 22:36:31

Sounds horrendous.

It's not the fault of the old law that the actions of the manager weren't brought up in court, though. And I can't see how moving the burden of proof onto the victim's family will improve that. The manager will still just wave the risk assessment.

Isitmebut Fri 21-Feb-14 23:20:09

“Workers Rights” abuse, or company abuse by legal sharks who weren’t around 114-years ago?

“Currently employers can be liable to pay compensation to employees in health and safety cases even if there is nothing they could have done to prevent the injury and all reasonable steps have been taken. The fear of being sued drives businesses to over comply with the law resulting in unnecessary additional costs.”

ParsingFancy Sat 22-Feb-14 00:52:07

I'm pretty sure there were lawyers around 114 years ago...

Isitmebut Sun 23-Feb-14 00:20:44

114-years old Ambulance Chasers and their cast iron Health & Safety legislation?

Excuse me, I thought that it was a relatively new term.

EBearhug Sun 23-Feb-14 00:24:28

Well, it doesn't matter if we don't have any rights, because they've also changed the rules on tribunals, which means hardly anyone will be able to afford to take their employer to tribunal anyway.

It's all very depressing. My union has been campaigning against the changes, but it's all been feeling pretty futile.

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