Nick Smith

Working for you in Blaenau Gwent

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I am not currently an MP, as Parliament has been dissolved until after the General Election.

Dissolution

I am not currently an MP, as Parliament has been dissolved until after the General Election.

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Nick Smith MP has backed the call for shopworkers to be protected and respected after teaming up with trade unions on Workers Memorial Day.

The Blaenau Gwent MP visited the Tesco store in Ebbw Vale to speak to staff and shoppers with the USDAW team, who were on hand to follow up on the Freedom from Fear drive and their Christmas 2016 campaign “Respect for Shopworkers”.

The Respect for Shopworkers week, which Mr Smith had backed over the festive period, revealed that nearly one in ten shopworkers have been assaulted in the course of their duties, but almost a third of them didn’t report the incident.

Speaking after the visit, Mr Smith said our workforce deserve to be protected so they and their families can have peace of mind.

“Just chatting to the security man on the door here, it is clear just how much abuse our hard working staff endure on a day by day basis from the public”, he said.

“It’s also clear that we want everyone to be able to go to work and be able to come back home, which is why having this visit on Workers Memorial Day carriers big significance.

“Not only do we need to treat people with respect, but businesses need to ensure their workplaces keep the workforce safe.”

Ebbw Vale Tesco Manager Mark Jones said: “It boils down to treating people on how we like to be treated ourselves. We empower colleagues to defuse difficult situations so everybody is safe”

Workers Memorial day, supported by trade unions such as TUC and USDAW, is designed to “remember the dead: fight for the living” by holding events or memorials to remember all those killed through work but at the same time ensuring that such tragedies are not repeated. 

The campaign asks for stricter enforcement with higher penalties for breaches of health & safety laws in the workplace.

Shopworkers must be safe in the workplace

Nick Smith MP has backed the call for shopworkers to be protected and respected after teaming up with trade unions on Workers Memorial Day.

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Nick Smith MP has called on the Government to ensure Blaenau Gwent has a gateway to jobs as he attempts to save a job centre from closure.

Proposals mean the Tredegar Job Centre is set to be folded into the Ebbw Vale site, leaving Blaenau Gwent with just two job centres in a borough with one of the highest economic inactivity rates in Wales.

Mr Smith met with Employment Minister Damian Hinds to discuss the move in a bid to get the Government to think again.

Mr Smith pointed out the difficulties caused by the move including reduced part-time access to public digital services and the potential that future job developments in the area could bypass the town’s workers.

There is also the extra difficulty of travelling between the towns if you are unable to pay the £5.10 bus fare – a walk of more than 50 minutes along public carriageways and countryside roads with no pavements in a region with rainfall far higher than the average.

Speaking after the meeting, where the Minister was asked to consider alternative sites in the town if cost cutting was necessary, Mr Smith said it was important not to put more roadblocks in the way of people trying to find work.

“Maybe to an outsider it looks like the difference in distance is a small one and there’s no problem if the jobs are being ported over,” he said.

“But we have to put service users first and in this case that’s people trying to find their way into the work place who are already finding it hard out there.

“Taking more options out of our towns when we are already losing services such as banks up and down the valley hollows out our communities.

“We also need to keep the job centre open to ensure we do all we can to ensure developments such as the Circuit of Wales take off and are able to access local jobseekers.

“I urge the Government to look again at this decision and back up their talk of helping people into work with real action.”

The total number of unemployed claimants in Blaenau Gwent in March 2017 was 1,560, with one in 20 people of working age unemployed.

The UK claimant average is half that of Blaenau Gwent and 23.6% of borough homes are classed as workless homes.

Working to keep the Job Centre open

Nick Smith MP has called on the Government to ensure Blaenau Gwent has a gateway to jobs as he attempts to save a job centre from closure.


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