'Whistleblowers' to get protection
Legislation is to be introduced in the autumn and will enable 'whistleblowers' to claim unfair dismissal if they are sacked because they passed on information about safety. They will also be given the right to a hearing at industrial tribunal if penalised by, for example, lack of promotion, as a result of raising safety fears.
Mr Forsyth, who made the announcement on a visit to a North Sea oil installation, said workers would be protected if they walked off the job because of 'serious and imminent danger'. Currently they risk dismissal for an unlawful unofficial strike if they take any action without a ballot.
'Victimisation of workers who raise safety issues is totally unacceptable,' Mr Forsyth said.
The new law is intended to apply to all workers, regardless of service. Many part-time employees and those with less than two years' service are excluded from the right to claim unfair dismissal.
Offshore workers were given protection against victimisation earlier this year after recommendations of the Cullen inquiry into the Piper Alpha disaster. John Edmonds, general secretary of the GMB general union, welcomed the move: 'It is an important extension of workers' rights on health and safety. I hope it is the beginning of a conversion.'
Nigel Harris, chief health and safety officer of the Amalgamated Engineering, Electrical Union, said the legislation had been overdue. 'Hundreds of our members have been victimised and sacked for standing up for their health and safety on the shop floor. This deserves to be a thing of the past,' he said. Exact definitions of 'serious and imminent' danger may be difficult to pin down but unions will be pressing for as wide an interpretation as possible.
Many employers, including British Rail and most private companies, have rules that prevent employees talking to the press. It is not known whether public disclosure of unsafe practises is to be covered by the legislation.
Cohse, the health service union, says a study of whistleblowers shows that most in private industry faced the sack while up to half in the public sector had also been dismissed.
- 1 Migrant crisis: Greek soldier saved 20 people singlehandedly off Rhodes beach
- 2 Sofyen Belamouadden murder: The inside story of a crime that horrified Britain
- 3 Company breaks open Apple Watch to discover what it says is 'planned obsolescence'
- 4 Aaron and Melissa Klein: Oregon anti-gay bakers ordered to pay $135,000 after refusing to make cake for same-sex wedding
- 5 UK weather: Britain braced for snow as arctic air mass moves in
Migrant crisis: Greek soldier saved 20 people singlehandedly off Rhodes beach
Ian Brady: Moors murderer announces his support for Ukip and the SNP
Aaron and Melissa Klein: Oregon anti-gay bakers ordered to pay $135,000 after refusing to make cake for same-sex wedding
UK weather: Britain braced for snow as arctic air mass moves in
Bali Nine executions in Indonesia: Death row British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford says she 'just wants to get it over with'
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Migrant boat disaster: Ukip candidate mocks victims in sickening Twitter post
Nigel Farage wants the BBC to stop making programmes like Doctor Who, Strictly Come Dancing, and Top Gear
Global warming: Scientists say temperatures could rise by 6C by 2100 and call for action ahead of UN meeting in Paris
General Election 2015: Britain would become a 'communist dictatorship' under Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon, claims wife of Michael Gove
£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: You will maximise the effective...
£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Bridgend based software de...
£21000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A specialist retail and brand c...
£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This digital production agency ...