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British Safety Council supports Usdaw's Justice for Injured Workers Campaign

Date: 30 November 2018 Shopworkers’ trade union leader Paddy Lillis has welcomed the support of the British Safety Council for the union’s Justice for Injured Workers Campaign, which seeks to stop the Government from forcing more workers into the small claims court.
The Government proposes to double the threshold for employer liability cases taken in the small claims court to £2,000, which they are implementing by statutory instrument. Usdaw is backing the cross-party Justice Select Committee recommendation of a fair and reasonable compromise increase to £1,500.

The British Safety Council’s vision is that no one should be injured or made ill at work, their Policy and Technical Services Director Dave Parr said: “Wherever employers are found to be negligent in the management of health and safety, there should be accountability. Workers should not be prevented from pursuing redress whenever they sustain a workplace injury or ill-health through no fault of their own simply because of financial limitations.” 

Paddy Lillis - Usdaw General Secretary says: “We very much welcome the support of the British Safety Council, an independent award winning charity that advises on health and safety in the workplace.

“The threshold increase for employer liability cases has yet to be adopted through the statutory instrument process, it is very disappointing that the Government did not put the change on the face of the Civil Liability Bill where it could have received proper scrutiny by Peers and MPs.

“However we will be seeking votes in the Houses of Parliament, asking for support for our campaign to stop the Government forcing more injured workers into the small claims court, where the costs of legal representation cannot be recovered from negligent employers. We want the Government to accept the reasonable and fair compromise of raising the threshold to £1,500.

“Access to justice is a fundamental right for everyone, which helps ensure the rule of law as passed by Parliament is observed. We will not stand idly by while the Government restricts access to justice for injured workers and puts workers in danger.”

Usdaw believes that an increase to £2,000 in the small claims threshold will:
  • Leave tens of thousands of injured workers without legal representation, because those costs cannot be awarded against negligent employers when the case is heard in the small claims court.
  • Put people off bringing valid claims before the courts and create an imbalance in legal representation between claimants and defendants.
  • Worsen workplace health and safety standards by making it less likely that negligent employers will be penalised, increasing the risk of an employee being injured while also restricting their ability to seek redress.
  • Significantly increase incidents of cold calling and fraudulent claims, because case management companies will fill the vacuum created when regulated solicitors are forced to leave the market. 
  • Create court chaos as employer liability cases clog up the small claims system that was not designed to deal with complex employer liability cases.
  • Impact access to justice for workers resident in Northern Ireland and Scotland who are injured while in England or Wales.
Notes for editors:

Usdaw (Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers) is the UK's fifth biggest and the fastest growing trade union with around 430,000 members. Membership has increased by more than 28% over the decade. Most Usdaw members work in the retail sector, but the union also has many members in transport, distribution, food manufacturing, chemicals and other trades.

The British Safety Council, a Registered Charity founded in 1957, is one of the leading Health and Safety organisations www.britsafe.org

For Usdaw press releases visit: www.usdaw.org.uk/news and you can follow us on Twitter @UsdawUnion

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