Sociologist, local councillor, activist, drummer from Malta

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Health, Safety and White-Collar Crime

How many more workers need to die before concrete action is taken to safeguard workers’ health and safety?

Health and safety measures are lacking in many places of work. It is useless having legislation without proper enforcement. In Malta there are only ten enforcement officers who have to cope with thousands of work places, including around 40,000 construction works.

Just a look at many construction sites confirms the lack of enforcement, to the detriment of workers and residents. Health and safety measures cost money, and this is one major reason why various employers and building contractors do not make use of such measures. Yet, in the meantime, workers are losing their lives or suffering from injuries. This is a clear example of white-collar crime which is not being dealt with properly by the state.

The fact that various employers, including those rendering services to the state, do not allow their workers to join trade unions, is also resulting in lack of health and safety measures for workers, as their voice is being silenced. The same can be said as regards employers in the black economy who offer abysmal conditions to workers who have no choice but to accept, such as refugees.

It is also shameful that government tenders are not including appropriate working conditions in terms of health and safety and other factors that increase exploitation.

Zminijietna - Voice of the Left appeals to trade unions to join forces and take a strong stand on this issue.

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