A recent survey in Scotland by UNISON has discovered that violent incidents being reported to employers are on the rise. The yearly report highlights that violent incidents has jumped to 34,739 occurrences, almost 15,000 more than the previous survey.
Commenting on the findings, UNISON’s Scottish Organiser Dave Watson, said:
“The latest figures demonstrate an appalling level of violent incidents faced by staff who are simply doing their job.”
Incidents in Local Government account for 14,274 with the figure for NHS coming in at 10,974. More are expected in the healthcare with two of the large health boards unable to produce figures for this year.
Scott Donohoe, Chair of UNISON Scotland’s Health and Safety Committee, said:
“The biggest increase in violent incidents is happening in those council services that are facing the brunt of spending cuts. Staff are stretched too thinly, dealing with service users facing cuts in the services they rely on. This is a toxic cocktail that is putting hard pressed workers at greater risk of violent assault.”
Convictions under the Emergency Workers Act have increased by 44 to 324. Due to the limited scope of the Act, very few violent incidents result in criminal action and efforts to address this were blocked by the Scottish Government when they opposed Hugh Henry MSP’s, Protection of Worker’s Bill.
“Employers must redouble their efforts to protect workers and the Scottish Government must play its role by strengthening the criminal law.”