Monday 10 December 2007
Extension of Emergency Workers Act should go further - UNISON
UNISON, Scotland's public service union, today welcomed the extension
of the coverage of the Emergency Workers Act to cover doctors and
nurses in the community, but said they were disappointed that the
opportunity had not been taken to cover other public sector staff
or indeed other NHS staff working under threat of violence.
UNISON's Scottish Organiser, Dave Watson said "While it is welcome
that a small number of extra people are now to be covered by this
legislation, it is very disappointing that the government has not
taken the opportunity to extend the act to cover the many public
service workers who face threats and abuse daily in working in the
"The Act is called the Emergency Workers Act - not the Emergency
Health Workers Act - and it was intended to cover all types of public
service workers in emergency situations. We have long argued that
it should cover public service workers in non-emergency situations,
like social care workers in residential care and home care; education
workers in schools; environmental officers tracking illegal dumping
and enforcing safety legislation; traffic wardens and community
safety wardens; utility workers; and also many other health service
workers - physiotherapists, occupational therapists and others who
have to put up with unacceptable behaviour from the public and clients.
"We hope there will be an opportunity to amend these regulations,
to take account of the many people providing our services who need
protection from unacceptable threats and violence."
The Emergency Workers Act covers emergency workers such as police,
firefighters, and ambulance staff and includes nursing, and medical
staff involved in responding to an emergency in hospitals, and can
also include social work staff in very narrowly limited circumstances.
For Further Information Please Contact: Dave Watson (Scottish
Organiser) 07958 122409 (m) Chris Bartter (Communications Officer)
0771 558 3729(m)