Protecting Council and other public sector employees from violence

We are pleased to be joining Labour colleagues in supporting this important campaign from UNISON to protect all public sector employees as they carry out their work

In my last blog I pointed out that we were pleased that the Labour Party had shared with us in advance a motion they were putting to the January Council meeting. We were pleased that they have also sent us another motion which we are delighted to support.

Perhaps, this should be the New Year Resolution for all Liverpool Councillors and the Mayor. Let’s work together when we can and only oppose each other when there are clear and substantial differences of opinion. It strengthens the case for all of us if we can work together and sometimes splitting over tiny differences of opinion weakens the way people think of us as a whole and the way that our messages are received by those we are trying to influence.

So, Lib Dem Councillors in Liverpool are joining Labour Councillors in asking the Council to support a UNISON “End Violence at Work Charter” in light of the fact that almost half Unison’s members working in the community sector have been subjected to violence or aggression in the past two years. Our Lib Dem employment Spokesperson, Cllr Kay Davies said, “As a public sector employee with a Trades Union background myself I am urging the Council to get behind this very worthwhile UNISON initiative. The attitude of some employers that this is just part of the job is wholly unacceptable.

Every employee should be able to expect that their employer treats them with respect and supports them in all their activities both front and back of house. One of the reasons for the high sickness rates for some public sector employees is the stress that they are put under because of the work that they have to do. They often meet people and work with people who are themselves living under great personal stress and therefore verbally or sometimes physically ‘lash out’ at those trying to help them.

Whilst we recognise this stress everyone must be aware of the need to ensure that our front-line staff can do their jobs calmly and safely”

ENDS

The full motion is appended below

Cllr Andrew Makinson    Cllr Kay Davies

This Council recognises that many public service workers are subjected to violence and aggression in the course of their work.

UNISON state that almost half of their members working in the Community Sector have been subjected to violence or aggression in the course of their work in the previous two years.  Incidents reported by UNISON members range from verbal aggression to serious physical assaults.  

Council further notes evidence that public service workers have been told by employers to tolerate violence, because these assaults are just “part of the job”.

This council applauds UNISON for developing the ‘End Violence at Work Charter’ – which commits an employer to ten basic actions to safeguard public service workers and provide support should they become the target of violence at work. The actions include managing risk, providing appropriate training and making support available to those who have suffered from violent incidents.  

This council notes that the End Violence at Work Charter is already making headway in driving up safety standards for public service workers and recognises that 35 major employers in the charity and housing association sectors have already signed up across the UK

This council wishes to see far more employers confront the issue of violence in the workplace and ensure that nobody providing services on behalf of this council is left exposed to unacceptable risk of violence against.  

This therefore council commits to exploring making the ‘End Violence at Work Charter’ a core part of our commissioning process. 

Council requests the Chief Executive to report back to the city council on options to encourage and where possible requires all existing service contract providers to sign up to the End Violence at Work Charter and explore ways to extend the above aims to the awarding of new contracts with the City Council.  

Further council reiterates its opposition to violence at work in all sectors and reaffirms its commitment to working with its own employees and Trade Unions to ensure that all appropriate steps and support are in place to tackle the issue for its own workforce. 

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About richardkemp

Leader of the Liberal Democrats in Liverpool. Deputy Chair and Lib Dem Spokesperson on the LGA Community Wellbeing Board. Married to the lovely Cllr Erica Kemp CBE with three children and four grandchildren.
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