Violence and Aggression

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Conference
2019 National Delegate Conference
Date
18 February 2019
Decision

Conference re-affirms its belief that violence and aggression against workers, whether physical, verbal or psychological, is not part of the job. Conference notes, and congratulates all those involved in the work across the union in the past year, in highlighting this as one of UNISON’s key campaigning issues.

It notes that UNISON has long campaigned for stronger legislation to protect its’ members from violent assaults. It therefore welcomes the Assaults on Emergency Workers (Offences) Act 2018 which provided stronger tariffs specifically for all NHS Staff (who are involved in face to face interaction with the public), Emergency Workers, and Police Staff.

However it notes that all those UNISON members involved in face-to-face interactions with the public are at risk of violent assault, and therefore require the same legal protections as those covered by the above Act.

Conference notes the work of UNISON’s Community Voluntary Sector in drafting, and getting employers to sign up to, UNISON’s Violence at Work Charter. This provides clear standards that employers are expected to meet, and provides a model for all UNISON branches to consider in their discussions with employers.

Conference also notes that UNISON has led the way in producing guidance for Safety Reps and members explaining why violence at work should not be considered part of the job.

Yet despite all this good work violent assaults on UNISON members continues to rise. The government continues to starve the Health and Safety Executive and other inspection agencies of the resources needed to carry out robust proactive inspections in this area. Conference notes that the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has recognised violence at work as a priority for inspections in the prison service, but not in other public services, despite the clear evidence of rising levels of assault in all sectors.

Conference calls upon the National Executive Council to:

1)Continue to promote UNISON Guidance, Charters and other resources through social media, bulletins to activists and members, and other media;

2)Build on the success of the Assaults on Emergency Workers (Offences) Act in the campaign for greater legal protection, and robust tariffs, regarding assaults against all public services staff;

3)Lobby the government and HSE to prioritise inspections regarding violence against all staff as a priority for proactive inspections, and greater resources to be diverted to all proactive health and safety enforcement activity;

4)Liaise with Labour Link to ensure that these measures are included in considerations for the Labour Party Manifesto at the next general election.