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Derek Maylor, Chairperson

Highest on the list of workplace health and safety issues is the General Election and with that are Brexit and its aftermath. The Coord has previously stated that we do not believe any Tory guarantees for our welfare, why would they rewrite their history?

Working conditions have been enhanced by our EU membership and whilst some of that was UK won it can also be UK lost.

We need a Labour Government to ensure that rights are not sacrificed for profit and rights of workers in some non EU countries are brought up to a humane standard. Labour will restore the 46% budgetary cut to the HSE.

Also domestically we need the HSE, LA’s and others to return to proactive workplace inspections, protection for those employed in the gig economy, safety considerations for the emerging technologies and for the aging UK workforce. We have waited a long time but it would be nice to have a maximum temperature in the workplace.

A healthy and educated UK workforce is essential to drive a successful UK economy and that needs investment not cuts.

The decision taken in Geneva last month not to add chrysotile asbestos to the Rotterdam Convention’s list of hazardous substances was shocking, inexcusable and appalling. A few countries blocked it despite overwhelming support from scientists during the eighth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Rotterdam Convention. The World Health Organization adviser said that all types of asbestos are harmful to people and all types are carcinogenic; they say that exposure to chrysotile fibres causes cancer of the lung, larynx and ovary; the lung cancer mesothelioma; and asbestosis.

The countries were Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Zimbabwe, India and Syria – over 190 countries wanting to address the issue. Russia and Kazakhstan are major exporters of asbestos, accounting for as much as 70% of global production. It is estimated that 180,000 deaths occur each year from asbestos-related diseases and the next meeting of Convention will be in 2019; there will be a lot of workers dead from asbestos between now and then.

In May three company directors were jailed following the death of a worker who fell while working on a warehouse roof in Essex. They admitted offences of corporate manslaughter and under the Health and Safety at Work Act; sentences were one year, ten months and eight months. They had been warned previously by the HSE but massively undercut the price of a competent roofing contractor to get the job irrelevant of the risks to the workers. When put like that are the sentences long enough?

Finally, in the United States, Donal Trump never fails to amaze – and disappoint.

The US leaving the Paris Agreement is a step in destroying the planets future and is indefensible; far from leading the worlds the US will be dragging it back. Hopefully led by people like Al Gore decent Americans will continue towards the clean energy nationwide and they will return to be world leaders, only without Trump.

As always, and in conclusion; we aim to provide the best advice and representation for our members and to:

*Ensure a safe working environment
*Promote occupational health
*Help members raise safety concerns
*Advance industry best practice
*Provide representation at national meetings
*Raise issues with other safety or government bodies

Our greatest assets are our Union Safety Representatives and we fully support them in their work.

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