Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Hands off Crane Regulations!

CAMPAIGNERS from as far afield as Greater Manchester and the West Midlands joined members of the Battersea Crane Disaster Action Group and the Construction Safety Campaign yesterday outside the Department of Work and Pensions in London, to oppose any steps to weaken or remove what they say are already inadequate regulations on crane safety.

In our top picture the banner of Dudley Trades Union Council is seen behind the Battersea campaigners. Below that, the Construction Safety Campaign banner says "Stop Crane Deregulation."

Others who came with their banners included UCATT and Unite trade unions, Families Against Corporate Killing (FACK), the National Shop Stewards Network and the Justice for Shrewsbury Pickets campaign. The protest was also backed by staff from the London Hazards Centre..

It was after campaigning following the deaths of two men when a tower crane collapsed in Battersea, south London, that regulations were introduced in 2010 requiring registration and regular safety checks on cranes. Now less than two years after the government is considering a report that would have the restrictions removed.

Campaigners yesterday saw this as linked with the official classification of several industries as "safe" and not requiring HSE inspections, and David Cameron's pledge to destroy what he calls the "health and safety culture" which he claims is a "burden" on industry.

They said it is not health and safety which is a burden but the profiteering and bonuses taken by tax-avoiding bosses, bankers and speculators.

Linzi Herbertson, whose husband Andrew died after falling from scaffolding in Oldham, speaks for Families Against Corporate Killing(FACK)

AT a meeting later in the House of Commons, chaired by Tony O'Brien, of the Construction Safety Campaign, speakers included Liliana Alexa, whose son Michael was killed by a collapsing crane which fell outside the family home in Battersea; Jeremy Corbyn MP; Jerry Swain of the builders' union UCATT; Matt Wrack from the Fire Brigades Union; and John McDonnel MP, who has introduced an Early Day Motion on this subject.

That this House recalls that after a series of serious accidents and fatalities caused by tower crane collapses a campaign was undertaken by the Battersea Crane Disaster Action Group comprising the relatives of the victims of the accidents, the Construction Safety Campaign and the health and safety campaign, Hazards, which led to new safety legislation related to crane operations being introduced in 2010; but expresses strong concern that recommendations contained in the Government's Lofstedt report is putting in jeopardy the safety regulations relating to tower cranes and working at height; and expresses its support for the protest and lobby of Parliament on 3 July calling on the Government to draw back from the implementation of these Lofstedt recommendations and the undermining of these safety regulations.

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