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Date: 25 April 2008

UNISON calls for cuts in violence at work on International Workers Memorial Day

UNISON - Scotland's public service union - today called on employers and government to begin to co-ordinate attempts to tackle the increasing levels of violent attacks against public service workers in Scotland, as part of its contribution to the commemoration of International Workers Memorial Day (IWMD).

The union said that its branches would be supporting events across Scotland organised today to remember those who have died due to accidents at work, and they joined the calls for recognition of IWMD as a national day of remembrance as a step to get employers to properly accept their responsibilities to stop work-related deaths.

Scott Donohoe, Convenor of UNISON's Scottish Health & Safety Committee, said "Drink-driving and domestic abuse are no longer regarded as acceptable, yet work-related deaths are still regarded as more acceptable than any other violent crime. Injuries and accidents cause major problems for workers, and lost work days, yet the number of violent attacks on local council and health service staff increases to over 25,000.

"Our branches and activists will be supporting the many events organised across Scotland to both remember those who have died and campaign for a change to the culture where employers feel they can avoid responsibility for their workers' safety."

The union will have activists and officers attending events at Greenock, Bathgate, Edinburgh, Kirkcaldy, Glasgow, Bonnyrigg and Coatbridge (details of each on the unison website - www.unison-scotland.org.uk/safety/wmd.html).

They are donating to memorials that are to be established in Summerlee, North Lanarkshire, and Gorebridge, Midlothian.

Dave Watson, UNISON's Scottish Organiser Policy said "UNISON along with the STUC welcomes occupational health as the theme of this years remembrance day. We have campaigned hard to ensure that publicly provided NHS occupational health facilities are properly resourced, and fit to deliver the support that can help people to remain in work, and return to work, after attacks, accidents and health problems."


For Further Information Please Contact: Scott Donohoe (Scottish Health & Safety Convenor) 07866 952 765(m) Dave Watson (Scottish Organiser - Policy) 07958 122 409(m) Chris Bartter (Communications Officer) 0771 558 3729(m)