Scotland: Unions call for Injuries Council on International Workers Memorial Day – STUC

Trade unions from across Scotland have backed the calls from an MSP to establish a new expert council to support the delivery of a Scottish social security benefit to be paid to workers injured as a result of industrial harm.

The Scottish Trades Union Congress – Scotland’s largest trade union body – in addition to affiliated trade unions from across the country have backed the Scottish Employment Injuries Advisory Council Members’ Bill from Scottish Labour MSP Mark Griffin. The bill seeks to use new social security powers devolved to the Scottish Parliament to establish an independent council with permanent, independent trade union representation. The council would have powers to research workplace injury and diseases and recommend to government it pays specific welfare benefits to be paid to those injured as a result of workplace incidents.

Writing to the Scottish Government, STUC General Secretary Roz Foyer has called for workers to be “put at the heart” of any new benefit.

The call comes today on International Workers’ Memorial Day, the national day of reflection for all those who have died at work throughout the past year. Statistics from the International Labour Organisation (ILO) show that over 2.3 million workers succumb to work-related accidents or diseases every year.

Commenting, STUC General Secretary Roz Foyer said: “International Workers’ Memorial Day is an opportunity to remember those who have died at work. We cannot let their memory fade as we strive to build safer, more secure workplaces.

“By backing Mark Griffin’s Bill on introducing an Employment Injuries Advisory Council, we can achieve that safer future for Scotland’s workforce. We must use the full powers of our parliament to increase the voice of Scotland’s workers who have been injured as a result of their work.

“We owe it to those workers who, inexplicably and cruelly, didn’t make it home at the end of their shifts. We must fight for a better future. We hope the Scottish Government will work constructively with Mark and all other MSPs backing the Bill to achieve this. Commenting, Mark Griffin MSP:

“It is workers who know their workplaces best seeing day in day out the risks to their health and lives, so it is vital their voice is central to the newly devolved industrial injuries benefit.

“The strength of support for this bill from trade unions and affiliates across the labour movement is hugely welcome.”

Tony Slaven, Chair of the STUC Disabled Workers Committee:

“Thousands of people are living daily with disabilities as a direct consequence of an injury or disease caused from work.

“The pandemic has starkly and tragically highlighted that the industrial injuries benefit system needs overhauled to make it reflect modern and new diseases which can be contracted in the workplace.

“Disabled workers are not just overlooked – we are deliberately discriminated against. Establishing a Scottish Industrial Injuries Advisory Council could be transformational for disabled people and provide workers facing the worst with some justice and the support from the state they deserve.”