Sir, I am compelled to respond to your correspondent Mr Heron (Letters, September 8).
His suggestion that 'unions should be more proactive with members rather than the management' is typical of the problems faced by the industry. 'Us and them' is the old adage that immediately springs to mind.
'We are all in this together' is one which should be utmost in the 21st century.
We have a policy of partnership and co-operation with employers on health and safety. We have six dedicated safety advisers who deal only with health and safety issues. They are not responsible for recruitment or collective bargaining, but being proactive with our members and managers alike on purely health and safety issues. Well-trained, knowledgeable, experienced safety representatives are the most efficient and proactive way of dealing with site issues relating to all employees, not just union members. This has been the case for some considerable time but has been consistently opposed by many employers.
Many other employers have embraced the use of representatives and understand the valuable role they play on site.
An ability to identify and reject unsafe working practices and to follow procedures in a reasonable way are other attributes of competent safety representatives.
With respect to corporate manslaughter, the last time I checked, an operative could be jailed for up to two years or fined £20,000. I do not believe that it is unreasonable to expect employers to be liable for the same, commensurate with their supposed responsibility and remuneration.
Billy Baldwin BA Hons Ucatt, Liverpool