MSP demands no more empty shoes

John Pentland at the exhibition he organised in the Scottish Parliament to coincide with International Workers Memorial Day.

John Pentland at the exhibition he organised in the Scottish Parliament to coincide with International Workers Memorial Day.

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Motherwell and Wishaw 
MSP John Pentland has been leading his first member’s debate in the Scottish Parliament.

He delivered the opening speech in support of his motion on International Workers Memorial Day (IWMD).

The annual IWMD took place last month to remember all those who have been killed, injured or affected by ill health as a result of their work.

John also organised an exhibition in the public lobby of the Scottish Parliament to highlight health and safety issues, around the theme of ‘Empty Shoes’, a poem written by GMB campaigner Wendy Lawrence.

John said: “Globally, one worker dies every 15 seconds, while annually over 300 million people are injured in workplace accidents.

“In Scotland, while workplace related illness and injury dropped in 2011/12, fatalities rose to 20 so not for the first time the Scottish rate is higher than the UK.

“This may be because construction and agriculture are larger parts of our economy and have higher accident rates, agriculture in particular accounts for two thirds of deaths.

“However, neither explanations, nor the falling trends are cause for complacency - any death is one too many!

“If we can address the Scottish situation by devolving health and safety to the Scottish Government, then I believe that’s what we should do.

“Workers in industries such as steel had to contend with poor safety regimes and fought through their unions to get improvements.

“Given my background in the steel industry I am well aware of the steelworkers’ struggle and look forward to the creation of a Steelworkers Memorial at Ravenscraig.”