Union targets corporate manslaughter for safety day activities

20 December 2005

ASLEF"s central demand on the International Transport Federation"s Day of Action on Safety in March will be for progress on corporate manslaughter.

"It is eight years since the government promised it would legislate to make corporate manslaughter a crime which is precisely what it is", General Secretary Keith Norman points out. "This was one of Labour"s 1997 election commitments".

"There is a growing suspicion that New Labour has become more concerned about protecting its rich friends than providing the public and transport workers with protection they desperately need".

Keith added that both Parliament"s Home Affairs and its Work and Pensions Committees earlier this month insisted that the drafts the government has issued for consultation were weak and would continue to let down relatives of victims.

The union agrees with the committees that juries should "consider whether a corporate culture existed in the organisation that encouraged, tolerated or led to that management failure" and that when deciding if management has failed they should "consider whether there has been a serious breach of health and safety legislation and guidance or other relevant legislation".

"It is desperately unjust that senior managers who have put budgets before safety walk away from deaths at work without a care in the world", Keith says. "If the policies of senior managers have contributed to a death at work, they have contributed to manslaughter.

"I have said before, corporate manslaughter only differs from other crimes in that it is not punished".

ASLEF intends to mount publicity events on the ITF Day of Action certainly at London"s Paddington station, and probably in other venues around the country. The actual date has not yet been chosen by the ITF, but members will be made aware of activities in the Journal and on the ASLEF website


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