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UNISON 2002 CONFERENCE REPORT - UNSION PROPOSES LAW TO PROTECT PUBLIC SECTOR WORKERS FROM HARM

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Unison wants a law to protect public sector workers from violence at work. ...
Unison wants a law to protect public sector workers from violence at work.

The move follows a survey by the union showing 90% of traffic wardens and attendants have experienced violence at work in the last year. Almost one in three said they had been assaulted.

Unison is calling on the government to establish an offence of assaulting a public sector worker in the course of their duty, similar to that of assaulting a police officer.

Ben Priestly, Unison national officer said the results of the survey were shocking: 'These workers get hassle from all sides, the public and their employers. We know that some councils, or more particularly the private companies working for them, are exploiting drivers and attendants, putting them at even greater risk of violence in an already dangerous job. This has got to stop.'

The union highlighted concern with the lack of adequate training to help staff defuse potentially violent situations and deal with aggressive people.

Only 62% received any training and

most appeared not to get any follow-up courses.

It recommended employers provide on-going training and carry out risk assessments on the hazards faced by their

staff as required by law, with regular reviews.

The survey said councils should adopt a zero tolerance approach and ensure those who assault staff are always prosecuted.

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