Union's charter protecting public sector workers from violence adopted by Northumberland County Council

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Councillors in Northumberland have agreed to adopt a new charter that aims to protect public sector workers from violence in the workplace.

It follows the publication of “worrying” statistics from trade unions around the numbers of their members who have experienced violence at work.

Unison says there are “consistently high” levels of members experiencing incidents of aggression or violence, with incidents including staff being punched, kicked, and pushed.

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Others have been threatened with weapons and even held against their will. In response to this, Northumberland Labour leader Scott Dickinson tabled a motion at a meeting of the county council last week calling on the local authority to adopt the union’s charter.

Northumberland Labour leader Scott Dickinson introduced the motion.Northumberland Labour leader Scott Dickinson introduced the motion.
Northumberland Labour leader Scott Dickinson introduced the motion.

Speaking at the meeting, he said: “There have been some worrying stats come out from Unison, the Trades Union Congress, and all unions have come out with data from members saying they have experienced violence in the workplace as well as intimidation and bullying.

“We care about our staff. We will not tolerate this sort of behaviour.”

The charter’s has ten key steps include having a written violence and aggression at work policy, encouraging staff to report violent incidents, a counselling service for victims of violence at work, and training for staff.

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Risk assessments conducted for staff placed in vulnerable situations and the collection and monitoring of data on violent incidents are also included in the charter’s provisions.

The council almost unanimously agreed to back Cllr Dickinson’s motion, with the exception of independent councillor Scott Lee, who voted against.