The BFAWU welcomes today’s announcement by the Labour Party on tackling heat in the workplace. For many years, our Union has been at the forefront and has indeed made calls to businesses, politicians, the Health and Safety Executive as well as the TUC to support measures that protect employees from extreme workplace heat. Our ‘Cool It’ campaign has been asking for reasonable measures to be introduced to protect workers since 2010 and today’s announcement is a step in the right direction to ensuring all workers in hot environments are not left unprotected.
The business lobby has resisted any introduction of even the most minor changes, constantly undermining our ability to bring about the changes we require for a more comfortable working environment. They have knowingly, and willingly put profit before the safety of human beings. The fact that so many of our workplaces record temperatures in excess of forty degrees shows that without legislation, employers will simply not deal with this issue. We expect all employers who are happy to sit in air-conditioned offices with free and easy access to cold drinks, to ensure (as a bare minimum) additional breaks, free drinks and an alteration to the dress code, as well as providing means of reducing the temperature in all areas of the workplace.
Let’s hope that Labour’s commitment to workplace temperature is just the tip of the ‘Cool It!’ iceberg.
Click here for a previous article that includes a link to a Trade Union Rep's guide to heat in the workplace.
Ian Hodson (National President)