UNISON – Scottish government must act as public service workers face more than 40,000 violent incidents every year

Public services union UNISON has called for action from the Scottish Government to “end the aggro” faced by council and NHS workers.

thumbnail of UNISONScotlandViolenceAtWorkSurvey_October2018UNISON’s annual Violence at Work survey for 2018 published at the union’s Health and Safety seminar in Stirling today (Friday 19 October) reveals figures for assaults on public service workers running at more than 40,000 for the third successive year.

There were 40,568 violent incidents in total reported by Scottish councils, NHS boards and other public services in the most recent year – on top of 42,241 last year and 41,166 in the 2016 survey.

The figures are double the number reported in UNISON’s first survey of violence on public workers in 2006.

Scott Donohoe, UNISON Health and Safety committee chair, told the conference:
“The massive scale of violence against public service workers – and those in the community and voluntary sector – has been at least partially revealed, with more than 40,000 reported assaults each year for the last three years.”

Scott Donohoe said:
“All employers engaged in delivering public services – whether in local government, health or the community and voluntary sector – should put the guidelines on violence in the workplace produced by the Scottish Centre for Healthy Working Lives fully into practice.

“Community and voluntary sector employers should sign up to the UNISON Violence at Work Charter which aims to support staff who often face violence when providing essential and undervalued caring services.

“We support the extension of legislation covering violence at work to cover all workers engaged in delivering public services – and not just the emergency services. The Scottish Government must move to address this issue.

“We now need action by employers and stronger legislation, regulation and oversight by government to end the aggro. It really isn’t ‘part of the job’.”


Note for editors

The Violence at Work Survey 2018 is available to download on the UNISON Scotland website Health and Safety page

and at this link

For further information please contact:
Scott Donohoe, chair UNISON health and safety committee, 07866 952765
Malcolm Burns, UNISON Scotland Information Development Officer, on 078765 66978