Small fines allow employers to sack safety whisleblowers

Small fines allow employers to sack safety whisleblowers


Hundreds of workers are being sacked every year for refusing to work in unsafe offices and factories, according to the TUC.


An investigation by the TUC found that since 1999, 1,500 workers have lost their jobs for raising safety concerns with their employers.


The TUC says that under the 1996 Employment Rights Act workers have a right to refuse to do dangerous work, but because an employer found guilty of unfairly dismissing someone on safety grounds may be looking at a penalty of as little as £3,800, many unsafe bosses find it cheaper to sack staff than to make improvements.


TUC general secretary, Brendan Barber, said: “Workers should not be placed in the situation where they are forced to choose between risking their job or risking their personal health and safety.


“We need a legal system that protects safety whistleblowers, not rewards them with their cards,” he said.


Michael Millar


 

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