Workers’ rights law must be maintained post-Brexit – Mike Hill MP

Enjoying the Easter Bank Holiday Monday weather at Seaton Carew.
Enjoying the Easter Bank Holiday Monday weather at Seaton Carew.

For once the Easter Bank Holiday weekend was a real scorcher and Hartlepudlians certainly made the most of it.

With temperatures reaching a sweltering 22 degrees, out came the barbecues, on went the sun cream and families flocked to Hartlepool’s beaches, particularly Seaton Carew.

Warmer than the Costa del Sol, the four-day heat-wave starting on Good Friday was a welcome change, a great backdrop to many community events around town and brought a real feel good factor to the place.

I certainly enjoyed visiting Seaton and spending time with my family and friends, indulging in the pastime of people watching just like my Mum and Dad used to do on their favourite beach until he passed away two years ago.

One of my most vivid childhood memories was coming home from school to find the pair of them sat on the couch, my Mum’s leg in plaster and both of my Dad’s legs bound up to his thighs with bandages. Both had unfortunately suffered an accident at work on the same day.

My Dad fell off a ledge into a vat of scalding water at his place of work and my Mum broke her leg after standing on a brick to look through a window to see if an elderly client was OK. Mum worked for the council as a home care supervisor and the pensioner wasn’t answering the door.

They were both fortunate and my sister, brother and I had plenty of family and neighbours to look after us, but their injuries could have been a damn sight worse.

That was back in the 1970s and around the time the Health and Safety at Work Act was introduced. These days there are a raft of laws and regulations aimed at protecting employees in the workplace. Vital legislation from both the EU and the UK aimed at keeping workers safe.

This is one of the reasons why, post-Brexit, it is vital to maintain such protections as the Working Time Directive, the Noise at Work and PPE regulations as UK law and not simply leave without having anything to replace them.

We must make the Government adhere to keeping these laws that keep so many of us safe without us even knowing it.

An important date in the calendar is April 28, Workers Memorial Day. This internationally recognised day commemorates those who have been either killed or injured in workplace accidents and aims to raise awareness among employers of the importance of effective health and safety procedures.

I am proud to say that in Hartlepool there is an annual service and wreath laying ceremony which includes guest speakers from the world of Health and Safety and the Trade Union movement.

This Sunday’s event will be held at Christ Church (Hartlepool Art Gallery) in Church Square and begins at 12.30pm.

It is always a very well attended and moving event, made all the more poignant by the attendance of families who’ve actually lost loved ones. Their presence brings the event and its message into stark reality for all who attend.