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Shock figures reveal a North Lanarkshire council worker is attacked every day
Alarming new figures reveal a council worker is attacked every day in North Lanarkshire.
The data shows 730 reported incidents of physical abuse on North Lanarkshire Council staff in the past 12 months.
A total of 411 local authority workers were physically assaulted by members of the public. And there were a further 307 cases of verbal abuse or aggression and 12 incidents with sexual language or inappropriate behaviour.
A total of 787 NHS Lanarkshire staff were subjected to physical or verbal attacks over the 12-month period. Across Scotland, violence against public service workers has almost doubled over the past eight years.
Dave Watson UNISON’s Scottish Organiser, said: “It is unacceptable for staff who serve the public to be assaulted for doing their job. These statistics record reported incidents and are therefore only the tip of the iceberg of misery faced by workers across Scotland’s public services”.
“The biggest increase in violent incidents is happening in those services that have suffered staffing cuts. Workers are stretched too thinly, dealing with service users who are coping with cuts in the services they rely on. This is a toxic cocktail that is putting hard pressed workers at greater risk of violent assault.”
A total of 37,052 incidents were reported to public service employers last year – up 3,363 and almost double the 20,000 reported when the first survey was first conducted in 2006.
Scott Donohoe, chairman of UNISON Scotland’s Health and Safety Committee, said: “To seriously tackle violence against staff we need proper monitoring, backed up by effective workplace measures to minimise the risks. We also need better legal protection for workers in the civil and criminal courts.”
A council spokesman said: “Any assault is unacceptable. We aim to deal with all reports of assault promptly with appropriate support offered, whether in terms of welfare, counselling or working in partnership with trade unions.”
A NHS Lanarkshire spokesman said: “No one should be subjected to abuse at work, verbal or physical. NHS Lanarkshire operate a zero-tolerance policy against anyone who is knowingly violent or aggressive towards any of our staff and we are continually working in partnership with local police in the management of aggressive and violent individuals.”