Monday 26 November 2007
Employers' failure to deal with violence at work could risk legal
action - UNISON
UNISON, Scotland's public service union, has issued guidelines
to its branches detailing a number of different ways that staff
can use the law to prevent assaults, convict offenders and sue employers
In a presentation to Scotland's Voluntary Sector staff tomorrow
(Tuesday 27 November), UNISON's Scottish Organiser, Dave Watson
will outline four different legal options for staff faced with violence
in the workplace.
Dave Watson said "Regrettably, research by UNISON shows that many
employers are failing to effectively address the problem of violence
at work. Therefore we need to look at other measures we can take
to protect members. We have identified a number of legal avenues
that staff can use to pursue criminal prosecutions against assailants
- for assault or for harassment; to sue either employers, or indeed
assailants, for civil damages; or best of all to use health and
safety legislation to ensure proper risk assessments are done by
employers and measures are implemented to prevent attacks.
"While, compensation and prosecution claims don't by themselves
prevent the violence, there is considerable evidence that the threat
of claims has reduced the incidence of abuse. Most notably, publicity
about recent actions on behalf of traffic wardens against abusive
BMW drivers in England has led to a remarkable reduction in abuse!"
The conference is being run by the Scottish Government and is free
to those involved in the voluntary sector. It features contributions
from practitioners and highlights resources available to protect
staff in the workplace. It is part of the successful partnership
between the STUC and the Government to raise awareness of verbal
and physical abuse in the workplace.
Dave said "While there is no concrete evidence that the risks in
the Community and Voluntary Sector(CVS) are worse than elsewhere,
there is evidence of underreporting in the care sector - which is
a major employer for the CVS. And elsewhere in the public services
the trend of incidents is increasing - not decreasing."
Note to editors - the advice is on the UNISON scotland website
For Further Information Please Contact: Dave Watson
(Scottish Organiser) 07958 122409 (m) Chris Bartter (Communications
Officer) 0771 558 3729(m)