Unions welcome legislation proposals

The TUC has welcomed the new workplace legislation set out in yesterday’s Queen’s Speech.

In the speech the government announced new legislation on corporate manslaughter, smoking at work and extended rights for new parents, as well as a new pensions Act and the reform of incapacity benefits.

TUC general secretary, Brendan Barber, welcomed the corporate manslaughter bill, and said that relatives of those who had “lost their lives in avoidable disasters deserve nothing less”.

While the TUC was glad smoking was to be banned in some workplaces, Barber said he wanted the legislation to go further with every employee being guaranteed a smoke-free atmosphere at work.

However the CBI warned that extending parental rights threatened to make life extremely difficult for small firms.

CBI deputy director general, John Cridland, said: “Maternity leave notification periods must be improved as current arrangements leave too much room for uncertainty.

“Return to work notice periods should be increased to three months and employers need to be able to contact mothers during maternity leave to confirm when they will be returning to work.”

He also called for the legislation on corporate manslaughter to be fair – separating the grossly negligent from genuinely responsible employers who do everything possible to ensure safety.


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