Glenis Willmott, MEP for the East Midlands and Labour’s leader in Europe has welcomed the call from the European Parliament’s Committee on Employment and Social Affairs (EMPL) for an end to blacklisting of employees through tougher sanctions for offending employers.
To guarantee standards of health and safety, workers need representation. The presence of health and safety representatives in the workplace lowers the number of occupational accidents and diseases reported.
In many firms, particularly in sectors such as construction, workers can face discrimination and even dismissal for representing their colleagues.
The practice of “blacklisting” – where workers may be refused employment by employers across the whole sector – is a serious problem, despite the fact that it is illegal in the UK.
The Committee has also called for greater protection for those who “blow the whistle” about health and safety risks in their workplace.
The call, forms part of the Committee’s report on the EU’s Health and Safety Strategy, and is likely to be adopted by the full Parliament next year.
Once Parliament adopts the report, the onus will be on the European Commission to respond to Parliament’s call and bring forward a change in the law.
This week was an important step towards an end to blacklisting, but there we still have much further to go.
Mrs Willmott said:
“Many lives are saved each year by diligent workplace representatives who look out for their colleagues”
“Representing the interests of your fellow workers should be met with praise, not punishment”
“My Labour colleagues and I will keep working to maintain the pressure on the Commission to implement these recommendations, therefore reducing accidents in the workplace and protecting those who are the eyes and ears when it comes to safety”