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(en) Britain, Catalyst #11 - Government - funded deaths

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Fri, 27 Aug 2004 08:49:58 +0200 (CEST)

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The Centre for Corporate Accountability has
revealed that, in the last 20 months, 9
apprentice workers - all under the age of
23 - have been killed on work placements
as part of Government-funded courses. It
is not known how many apprentices have
been injured.
One of the deaths has resulted in a
director and company being prosecuted
for manslaughter. The trial
is due to take place later this
year at Exeter Crown Court. Another has
resulted in the company pleading guilty to
health and safety offences, whilst five of
the deaths continue to be under
At the time, all of the apprentices were
undertaking the work-placement part of
their course/apprenticeship, and were on
vocational courses funded by the
governments Learning and Skills Council,
which funds all post-16 training and
education for young people.
The manner in which these young
people have died is truly shocking, but
sadly unsurprising, given this
governments record. Health
and Safety Executive
(HSE) figures show that
last year, 21 workers
between the ages of 16
to 24 who died at work -
a 20% up on the
previous year. Details
about the apprentice
deaths emerged as the
Government announced
a major expansion in the
funding of
apprenticeships. It also
comes at a time when the
HSE has been forced - due to
cuts in government spending - to
reduce its activities.
Apparently, the HSE already has too
few resources, and has opted to try and
persuade employers to be safe, even
though its own research shows that
enforcement is a more effective strategy.
The reality is that the only way the
wholesale slaughter that is now taking
place in the workplace will end, is by
rebuilding workplace organisation as the
means of forcing management to make
changes. Ultimately, workplaces will only
be truly safe when capitalism is got rid of
and replaced with a system based on
collective workers control.
Catalyst is a Freesheet of the anarchist Solidarity
Federation - IWA

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