Call for action to end violence at work

Sam Macartney
Sam Macartney

#stuc19 Congress reaffirmed that no worker should face violence or aggression their workplace and highlighted the employers’ duty of care to their staff, as it pledged to support affiliated unions to campaign for clear and robust procedures for reporting violent incidents and supporting staff.

Delegates recognised the need to change cultures within schools and other workplaces to ensure that all violent incidents are reported and to press employers for specialist resources to deal with people who are violent and aggressive, so that workers can do their jobs without feeling threatened.

Supporting the composite from education and health unions, UNISON’s Sam Macartney said that no worker should have to go to work fearing what may happen there, but that is exactly the situation faced by hundreds of residential workers in children’s units throughout Scotland.

He pointed to a 2018 survey that UNISON carried out in Glasgow care homes for children and adults which showed a continued increase in physical and verbal abuse against staff and other residents, a trend which continues.

In twenty units in Glasgow, over an eight week period, there were 68 recorded incidents of violent and aggressive behaviour in one unit and 422 in all twenty units. Less than 2% of those incidents led to any charges being brought.

“This is not acceptable,” slammed Sam.

Sam pointed out that low staffing levels and failure to have viable recruitment policies have added to the problem and morale of staff is at an all-time low.

He called for more investment in social care and more robust recruitment and retention policies to protect both staff and clients.

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