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Wednesday, 25 April, 2001, 20:59 GMT 21:59 UK
Foot and mouth: the risks to workers

Bill Morris: Other workers need compensation too
By Bill Morris, General Secretary of the Transport and General Workers' Union

One human case of foot-and-mouth is one too many.

The medical experts may say the risk to people is slight and the disease is not life-threatening, but for any individual who contracts it, it will cause much emotional distress and physical discomfort.

A TUC delegation will be meeting the Secretary of State for Agriculture, Nick Brown, on Thursday afternoon to make these points.

My union will be demanding an open and transparent risk assessment for workers involved in the cull and disposal of infected animals.

We need this risk assessment in order that workers can be given clear guidance in a code of working practice.

Foot-and-mouth worker
The TUC want a full assessment of the risk to workers
Workers need to know what safe handling procedures should be followed, what protective clothing they should be wearing and how and when that clothing should be disposed of.

People also need to know where to turn for help if they develop any adverse affects or suffer any worrying symptoms while at work.

This meeting will be the forum in which we seek to put the case for consequential compensation for employees in the industry.

These workers are the silent group in the call for compensation and I want to see their losses on the agenda

Bill Morris
We have heard much about the losses of farmers and the tourist industry, but agricultural workers, abattoir workers and food processing workers have been laid off and have had to claim Job Seekers' Allowance.

These workers have a right to consequential compensation for both actual and opportunity loss and if they are forced to leave the industry we will lose years of skill and experience.

These workers are the silent group in the call for compensation and I want to see their losses on the agenda.

When the outbreak first occurred, my union offered to suspend negotiations at the Agricultural Wages Board so the farming industry's full attention could be devoted to the crisis.

Agricultural workers have had to wait for their annual pay rise and we now look for some good will in return.

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14 Apr 00 | UK Politics
Profile: Bill Morris
23 Apr 01 | Health
Human 'may have foot-and-mouth'
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