On the 12 December this week, millions of people around the country will vote in the general election.
The key issue is Brexit, and the decisive vote on this will have huge ramifications for health and safety, from the form any future trading relationships will take with global partners and what impact that could have on regulations, to the well-documented risk of reducing workers' rights and protections that leaving the EU, particularly if the UK should do so without a deal, brings.
However, there is some hope to glean from the manifestos and what they pledge to do for health, safety and wellbeing, as well as for the environment, in the coming year and beyond. Ahead of polling day on Thursday 12 December, take a look at the key points for health, safety and wellbeing.
Conservatives: Get Brexit done. Unleash Britain’s potential
Boris Johnson: “Let’s make 2020 about the people of this country and not its politicians. Let’s get out of the rut of the last three years and get on with our work as Conservatives of making this the greatest place to live.”
The Conservatives pledge to:
- Negotiate a trade agreement with the EU next year and not extend the Withdrawal Agreement implementation period beyond December 2020
- Legislate to ensure high standards of worker and consumers rights, environmental protection
- Set up a new independent Office For Environmental Protection and introduce environmental legal targets for the UK, including for air quality
- Create a single enforcement body and crack down on any employer abusing employment law
- Implement and legislate for all recommendations of the Hackitt Review (on Grenfell) and the first phase of the independent inquiry
- Look at more radical ways to support working families
- Net-zero carbon energy reached by 2050, with investment in clean energy solutions and green infrastructure to reduce carbon emissions and pollution.
Read the full Conservative party manifesto at vote.conservatives.com/our-plan
Labour: It’s time for real change
Jeremy Corbyn: “This manifesto offers the chance of real change for every generation and every community. When Labour wins, the nurse wins, the pensioner wins, the office worker wins, the engineer wins. We all win.”
Labour pledges to:
- Give people the final say on Brexit by putting a deal to the public with the option to remain
- The ‘biggest extension of workers’ rights in history’
- Give working people a voice in cabinet by establishing a Ministry for Employment Rights
- New Workers’ Protection Agency to enforce workplace rights, with powers to inspect and bring prosecutions on workers’ behalf
- Tackle insecurity with full working rights from day one of the job
- Ban zero-hour contracts
- Extra protections for pregnant women and those going through the menopause
- End bogus self-employment and create a single status of ‘worker’
- Right to flexible working for all
- Statutory bereavement leave
- Four new bank holidays
- Set up a royal commission to bring health (including mental health) and safety up to date
- Introduce a new Clean Air Act, complying with World Health Organization limits for pollutants
- Net-zero carbon energy by the 2030s – or faster.
Read the full Labour Party Manifesto at labour.org.uk/manifesto
Liberal Democrats: Stop Brexit, build a brighter future
Jo Swinson: “Leaving the European Union is not the answer to the single parent who is struggling to make ends meet...or to saving our planet. In fact, it will only make those problems worse.”
The Lib Dems pledge to:
- Put employee representatives on boards to strengthen worker participation in decision-making
- Create new Worker Protection Enforcement Authority to protect those in precarious work
- 20 per cent higher minimum wage for people on zero-hour contracts
- Introduce wellbeing impact assessment for policies and have a wellbeing budget
- Appoint a minister for wellbeing who will present to parliament on the main measures of wellbeing and the effects of government policies on them
- Change the law so that flexible working is open to all from day one in the job
- Urgent action on the climate emergency, including: ensure clean air to breathe and require companies to set targets consistent with the Paris Agreement on climate change and to report on their implementation
- Generate 80 per cent of UK’s electricity from clean energy sources by 2030.
Read the full Liberal Democrats manifesto at www.libdems.org.uk/plan
By Belinda Liversedge on 19 January 2021
Coronavirus outbreaks in workplaces are nearly at their highest levels since the start of the pandemic but not one company has been prosecuted for a Covid-related breach, official data shows.
By Belinda Liversedge on 14 January 2021
The British Medical Association says it has received sustained reports from female doctors ‘struggling to find respirator masks that pass fit testing’, compromising their safety from coronavirus.
By Belinda Liversedge on 14 January 2021
Workplace safety rules written following the first outbreak in March 2020 are out of date and ill equipped to protect workers from the more infectious strain of Coronavirus, the TUC has warned.