Labour support EU-wide rights for whistleblowers

Friday 16th December
"Tories once again showed their true colours  - and stood out against the rest of the EU  - when they refused to support whistleblowers today," said British Labour MEP Stephen Hughes.

The European Parliament today overwhelmingly passed legislation on workplace health and safety that  includes European support for whistleblowers, specifically calling for an end to the practice of "black-listing" of those workers who speak out, but the small fringe political group containing British Tories opposed the rights for whistleblowers.

"When people see their companies are being unethical or illegal, they should have a right to make it known without fear of prosecution," said Stephen Hughes.

"Employers across the EU should not have black-lists of employees brave enough to speak out against their employers, and it's time someone blew the whistle on them," he said.

Glenis Willmott, Leader of the British Labour MEPs said "I know of cases sacked whistleblowers where people have been unable to get other jobs. Organisations such as 'The Consulting Association' in the UK kept a black-list of construction workers who were active trade unionists, and it was only brought to an end by an excellent exposée in the Guardian newspaper in 2008.

"We need Europe-wide action and Europe-wide legislation to control this sort of behaviour by unfair employers.

"The legislation also has a definition of 'moral harassment' that would apply throughout the EU, and  it highlights the need to improve social dialogue and strengthen prevention policies. It also seeks to ensure that existing health and safety legislation is implemented.

"You obviously need Europe-wide legislation on health and safety. Otherwise a company in one nation would have every incentive to undercut its overseas competitors. With legislation across Europe, we can get decent working standards that are not threatened by markets abroad all the time," she concluded.