Department of Work and Pensions – Non-Executive HSE Board Member Appointment – Employee Representative Seat

Department of Work and Pensions – Non-Executive HSE Board Member Appointment – Employee Representative Seat
To: All Branches
Dear Colleagues,
As reported in LTB 571/2016, dated 28 September 2016, The Tory government announced that they had appointed an employer to represent workers on the HSE Board which has three places reserved for non-executive members representing employees/workers and three places reserved for employers’ representatives.
This appalling decision and blatant abuse of rules, that are there to ensure a fair balance between workers and bosses, outraged every UK Trade Union and was seen as a further attack on the ability of trade unions to protect the health and safety of working people.
The background to this is that the government commissioned Lord Robens Committee report of June 1972, made recommendations to the UK Government of the day which were endorsed and enacted in the Health and Safety at Work, etc. Act 1974, which in turn established the Health and Safety Executive enforcement body and its controlling board. Under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 Section 10(2), Schedule 2, entitled ‘Establishment of the Executive’, it states that the board (initially the Commission) should be a “Tripartite” body consisting
of a Chairman, 3 members from employers, 3 members from employee/workers and up to 4 others from organisations such as local authorities and professional bodies. It also stated that appointments would be subject to consultation.
Parliamentary debates of the day back in 1972/74 recorded that in the first place there will be consultation with the C.B.I., the T.U.C., local authorities and others concerned about how best to achieve the Robens objectives and that the role of the trade unions and consultation was to be greatly strengthened.
All of these HSE Board appointments however are qualified in the Act as follows “as he (the Minister) considers appropriate.”
Last month the CWU along with the TUC and other Trade Unions publicly condemned the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP)’s decision to appoint an employer who holds several directorships and is a retired CEO, to one of the non-executive HSE board member seats, reserved for employee/worker representatives. The CWU, TUC and other Unions argued strongly that the principle of an equal voice for employers and workers is enshrined in the Health and Safety at Work Act, in order to protect the health, safety and wellbeing of working people.
This matter was also the subject of an emergency motion to TUC Congress in September, reported in detail in LTB 571/2016 and supported by the CWU Delegation.
The CWU Health, Safety & Environment Department, along with other Trade Unions, led by the TUC made strong representations against this decision at the highest level of government, to Ministers, MPs, DWP Officials and the HSE Chair and CEO.
I am pleased to report that on Friday a letter was received by the TUC from the DWP Secretary of State, Damian Green MP, confirming that the matter had been reviewed and the previous appointment cancelled. The HSE board member seat, reserved for employee/worker representatives will be re-advertised for a new non-executive member to represent the interests of employees/workers on the HSE Board and that the TUC will be consulted by DWP in due course regarding the recruitment process.
It is appreciated that throughout this argument, the Trade Unions position has been supported by the HSE chair, Martyn Temple, and by other members of the HSE Board.
The TUC has thanked the CWU for its pro-active involvement and campaigning and those other Unions who have participated in strongly lobbying the government and others on this issue.
 
Yours sincerely
 
Dave Joyce
National Health, Safety & Environment Officer
Email Attachments – Click to download
LTB 626/16 – Department of Work and Pensions – Non-Executive HSE Board Member Appointment – Employee Representative Seat

Attachment 1: Letter dated 29 September to Penny Mordaunt Health & Safety Minister

Attachment 2: Letter dated 29 September to Martin Temple HSE Chair

Attachment 3: Reply From the DWP dated 12 October

Attachment 4: Reply to DWP dated 14 October

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