STUC congress: CSP promotes worker safety and public health

The CSP sent a full delegation to promote public health and support the workforce of Scotland. 

Scottish TUC congress 2024 delegation
CSP delegation at STUC 2024, (left to right) Claire Craig, Mattie Tucker, Claire Ronald and Fiona MacKellar

Trade unions gathered in the Caird Hall in Dundee this week (15-17 April) for the 127th Scottish Trade Union Congress.

The CSP’s own motion called for better protective safety equipment (PPE) that is fit for purpose, following CSP evidence to the Covid inquiry in Scotland. The motion noted that research has shown that females are twice as likely to fail fit tests than males, and that a report by the Royal College of Emergency Medicine in 2021 stated 48 per cent of black and minority ethnic respondents failed fit testing at University College London. The Scottish healthcare workforce is predominantly (77 per cent) female, and a third of the workforce is non-white, but PPE masks are designed for Caucasian male faces.

Provide wearable PPE

In her speech to congress, CSP delegate Claire Craig said: 'I don’t have to tell any of you how much money was wasted in unfulfilled PPE contracts handed out by the government during Covid 19 – it was all over the news! But we must learn from this and collectively strive to do better in the future, by ensuring manufacturers do their duty and provide PPE that is wearable by everyone who needs it.'

The motion called on the STUC general council to work with health unions to hold the government and employers to account and remind them of their obligations under health and safety legislation.  The motion was carried overwhelmingly.

Housing and public health

A number of motions addressed the housing crisis in Scotland and the CSP submitted its own motion linking the problems in housing to public health. A report by the Institute of Health Equity in 2022 outlined that one of the clear public health aspects is excess cold, which exacerbates health inequalities and is particularly relevant to Scotland.

Cold homes cause and worsen respiratory conditions, cardiovascular diseases, poor mental health, dementia, hypothermia and problems with childhood development. To this end the housing crisis is also a public health crisis.

In proposing the motion, CSP delegate Fiona MacKellar said: 'Cold housing increases illnesses such as colds and flu, dampness and mold are associated with substantial and statistically significant increases in respiratory tract infections such as bronchitis. There is also a strong relationship with cardiovascular disease and cold homes.

Cold housing also negatively affects dexterity and increases the risk of accidents and injuries within the home.

'If you improve a home, making it healthy and safe, this has long term implications for the life chances of occupants and visitors, and benefits society as a whole. Today’s housing crisis is indeed an emergency that we can no longer ignore.'

Speaking at the event, CSP delegation leader Mattie Tucker said: 'The CSP has fully engaged in this year’s congress, moving important motions and supporting and speaking on numerous others. It’s been a very positive event and the collaboration with fellow trade unions has shown that together we can impact on social policy. The CSP may be one of the smaller unions but we continue to punch above our weight.'

Further details and documents can be viewed at STUC Congress24  



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