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       Hazards magazine, December 2015
TUC advice on reporting work-related violence

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Britain: Tube staff strike for victimised work violence victims
Tube workers at London Bridge station have taken industrial action in a further protest against the sacking of a member of staff and the disciplining of two others. The RMT members working for London Underground (LU) staged the 24-hour strike from 10pm on 7 May in response to LU’s blame-the-worker behaviour after an incident in which a fare-dodger was violent towards staff.
RMT news release. The Telegraph. Morning Star. Evening Standard. Risks 799. 13 May 2017

Britain: Union calls for security guards to protect store staff
Shopworkers’ union Usdaw is calling for higher levels of security in shops, particularly small convenience stores. The union call came after latest figures from the Crime Survey for England and Wales revealed that shoplifting is continuing to rise, increasing by 8 per cent during 2016, contributing to a 21 per cent increase over the last decade.
Usdaw news release. Morning Star. Risks 799. 13 May 2017

Britain: Teachers abused online by parents and pupils
Nearly one-third of teachers report being abused online over the past 12 months, with half of those targeted saying parents, not just pupils, were behind the abuse. A UK-wide survey of over 1,500 teachers conducted by teaching union NASUWT found 31 per cent of teachers reported being abused online over the last year, of which 50 per cent said they had been abused by a parent, with one in five (20 per cent) of the messages posted by parents included explicit threats.
NASUWT news release. Risks 798. 6 May 2017

Britain: Union slams 'deplorable' attack on firefighters
The firefighters’ union FBU has condemned a violent attack on two on-duty firefighters who were threatened with an imitation firearm. The union said the ‘deplorable’ incident took place on 10 April in Spalding, as the firefighters tackled a house fire.
FBU news release. Risks 796. 22 April 2017

Britain: Union fury at Tube bosses for firing attack hero
Tube union RMT has reacted with fury after London Underground (LU) upheld the ‘disgraceful’ sacking of a staff member who intervened to stop a violent fare dodger from assaulting colleagues at London Bridge last autumn. RMT is already balloting station staff across the London Bridge group for industrial after the member was fired and two others were disciplined for stepping in to stop the serious assault on colleagues, including one who was pregnant.
RMT news release. Risks 793. 25 March 2017

Britain: Unions join forces to fight abuse at work
Collective bargaining from trade unions can play a key role in tackling violence against women, campaigners have said, but they add the government must also take action. Delegates at the TUC women’s conference heard how Britain has some of the highest levels of workplace violence against women in Europe.
Speech by TUC head Frances O’Grady to the TUC women’s conference. Morning Star. TUC guide to reporting workplace violence. Risks 792. 18 March 2017

Britain: Thefts from shops are serious crimes, says Usdaw
Retail union leader Usdaw has welcomed a clarification from Thames Valley Police, after a report in the Telegraph suggested the force “will not send out officers to deal with shoplifters who steal goods worth less than £100”.  A statement from the police force noted: “The Force would like to reassure communities that all reports of shoplifting are investigated - regardless of the value of goods stolen. In cases in which there is an immediate threat, such as a shoplifter becoming violent, the public can be assured that officers will be there for who need help.”
Usdaw news release. Thames Valley Police statement. The Telegraph. Risks 792. 18 March 2017

Canada: Delays put armoured car workers and public at risk
A further delay in implementing a Canadian Ministry of Labour ruling is putting the safety of armoured car workers and the general public at risk, the union Unifor has said.  “The directives in the original order recognised that the use of two-person, all off crews elevates the danger of armoured car personnel being attacked in public, which also increases the risk to innocent by-standers,” said Mike Armstrong, Unifor’s lead for the armoured car industry.
Unifor news release. Risks 791. 11 March 2017

Britain: Union charter to tackle violence at work
Workers in the community should not fear violence, the union UNISON has said. The union’s community service group conference agreed to launch a ‘Violence at Work Charter’ which would see employers commit themselves to “a series of interventions”.
UNISON news release. Risks 791. 11 March 2017

Britain: Banker fined a week's wages for spitting on bus driver
A bus driver who was spat on by an investment banker in a fit of road rage has spoken out after the £90-000-a-year Barclays executive was fined one week’s wages. The incident happened after father-of-three Leon Delahaye, 44, pulled out in front of Alexis Fountzoulas’ black Mini in London’s Piccadilly Circus on 26 June last year, a court heard.
London Evening Standard. Risks 789. 23 February 2017

Britain: Usdaw ‘appalled’ as attacks on shopworkers soar
The shopworkers’ union Usdaw has called for urgent preventive action after latest figures showed a sharp upturn in violence, threats and abuse against shopworkers. The British Retail Consortium (BRC) figures reveal a 40 per cent increase in incidents of violence and abuse against retail staff.
BRC news release. Usdaw news release. Morning Star. Risks 787. 11 February 2017

Britain: 'Alarming' rise in attacks on school staff in Wales
Teachers and school staff in Wales have been the victims of more than 1,500 physical and verbal attacks by pupils every year, new figures have shown. Teaching union NUT Cymru had responses from 17 of Wales' 22 local authorities to freedom of information (FOI) requests.
NUT Cymru news release. BBC News Online. Risk 786. 4 February 2017

USA: Workers win move towards a violence standard
A union call for a new official rule to protect workers from violence is moving forward. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the USA’s federal safety regulator, told a stakeholder meeting it was accepting the petitions submitted by unions to the Department of Labor last year and would commence rule making on a workplace violence standard to protect workers in health care and social assistance.
AFL-CIO Now blog. OSHA workplace violence webpages. Risks 785. 28 January 2017

Britain: NHS staff should not have to work in fear
The sharp increase in the number of violent assaults against health service employees in England – up by over a fifth in the last five years – is completely unacceptable and requires urgent government action, public service union UNISON has said. Latest figures published by NHS Protect show that in 2015/16 there were 70,555 violent incidents involving health workers, compared to the 57,830 reported five years ago - a 22 per cent increase.
UNISON news release. NHS Protect statistics 2015/16. Risks 782. 7 January 2017

Global: Addressing occupational violence affecting women
The International Labour Organisation (ILO) has published a report putting a ‘gender lens’ on the issue of violence prevention in the workplace. The report summary says it “reviews the international literature and a selection of regulatory instruments with respect to occupational violence - work-related violence involving incidents in which a person is physically, psychologically or sexually assaulted, threatened, harassed, bullied or mobbed in circumstances relating to their work.”
Addressing occupational violence: An overview of conceptual and policy considerations viewed through a gender lens, ILO, November 2016. Risks 779. 3 December 2016

Global: Ending violence against women at work
Unions are putting the issue of violence against women at work high on their safety agenda. IndustriALL assistant general secretary Jenny Holdcroft said: “More trade unions need to adopt strong policies against violence in the workplace, which can be used to educate all their members about what is and what is not acceptable treatment of women.”
IndustriALL news release. ITUC statement and campaign for an ILO Convention to stop gender-based violence at workITUC gender-based violence at work campaign webpage and campaign guide. Risks 779. 3 December 2016

Canada: Violence universal in health care
According to healthcare workers interviewed this year by a Canadian health care union, the health and well-being of the individuals devoted to caring for health seems to be increasingly at risk from angry, frustrated, or out of control patients. Researchers from the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (OCHU)/Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) note that every one of the 150 registered practical nurses (RPNs) from across Ontario attending a conference on violence this year reported that they have been assaulted at work.
The Bullet. Risks 776. 12 November 2016.

USA: California nurses win violence prevention standard
A set of trailblazing regulations to prevent workplace violence in California’s hospitals and health care facilities have gained unanimous approval from the state’s Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board. The rules were issued under 2014 legislation backed by the union California Nurses Association/National Nurses United (CAN/NNU).
CNA/NNU news release. Politico. Risks 774. 29 October 2016

Britain: Scotland’s public sector faces soaring violence
Violence against Scotland’s public service workers has doubled in a decade, union research has found. UNISON’s Violence at Work Survey 2016 shows recorded violent assaults have risen from 20,000 to over 40,000 per year over the last decade, the highest level since the annual survey began in 2006.
UNISON Scotland news release and Violence at Work Survey 2016. Risks 774. 29 October 2016

Britain: Tube strike ballot ‘inevitable’ over attacks on staff
Tube staff are set to vote on strike action after confirming an increase in attacks in the wake of the closure of ticket offices. Rail union TSSA is in a dispute with Transport for London (TfL) as a result of London Underground (LU) ticket office staff being relocated onto station concourses.
TSSA news release. London Evening Standard. Risks 773. 22 October 2016.

Global: Campaign against gender-based violence at work
Global trade union confederation ITUC is warning that gender-based violence is one of the most prevalent human rights violations in the world. The union body is calling for a new global standard on prevention,  noting: “Trade unions are taking action to end gender-based violence at work and are campaigning for a new international labour Convention to tackle the various forms of gender-based violence that occur in the world of work,” through the International Labour Organisation (ILO).
ITUC gender-based violence at work campaign webpage. Join the campaign! Risks 771. 8 October 2016

Britain: BBC audio exposes rail firm’s dangerous dirty tricks
Rail staff employed by Govia Thameslink are being abused and assaulted by enraged passengers as a result of the company’s ‘lies and abuse’ to cover up their own gross mismanagement of train services, the union RMT has said. As proof, the union points to a ‘shocking’ BBC audio recording of staff “being spat at, punched and threatened with stabbing due to a constant barrage of company lies about the reasons for the constant chaos across the franchise.”
RMT news release. Risks 762. 6 August 2016

Unions demand action on prison safety crisis
Prison unions are calling for urgent action over alarming new figures they say expose the true scale of the safety crisis in prisons in England and Wales. The unions say latest Ministry of Justice figures released show that prison staff are increasingly the victims of the safety and staffing crisis.
‘Safety in Custody’ report. POA news release. Community news release. Risks 762. 6 August 2016

Britain: Legal win will protect prison officers
Prisoners can now be prosecuted for attacks on prison workers, after a union-backed High Court case. In a landmark victory for the prison officers’ union POA, the court ruled last week that it is important to be able to prosecute prisoners for acts of violence committed against prison officers while serving time in prison, as a way of protecting prison officers and prisoners.
Thompsons Solicitors news release.
TUC violence at work guidance. Hit list: TUC violence and abuse reporting form, Hazards magazine. Risks 757. 2 July 2016

Britain: Usdaw calls for an end to post referendum abuse
The shopworkers’ trade union has expressed deep concern about reports of threats and abuse against migrant workers and people from minority ethnic groups has called for “calm and respect.” Usdaw general secretary John Hannett said: “It is deeply disturbing that some people have taken the vote to leave the EU as a green light to abuse others who they believe don’t have the right to be in the country,” adding: “Usdaw reps have for many years been providing support for members who face violence, threats and abuse and they will continue do so in this challenging period after the referendum.”
Usdaw news release. Risks 757. 2 July 2016

Britain: Teaching assistants face violence and threats routinely
Teaching assistants are routinely facing threats and violence from pupils and their parents, according to a new report from the union UNISON. School support staff blame shoddy disciplinary policies, staffing cuts and a lack of training for the abuse.
UNISON news release. UNISON guide: Managing Difficult Behaviour in Schools. Morning Star. Risks 756. 25 June 2016

Britain: Lone Ladbrokes staff face horrific risks
Betting firm Ladbrokes has been accused of putting “profits before lives” after one lone worker was killed and a second was raped, the Mirror has reported. Former head of health and safety Bill Bennett, who the paper says has turned whistleblower, alleged: “Ladbrokes chose to prioritise profit over the health and safety of its employees.”
The Mirror. Risks 753. 4 June 2016

Britain: Lone Ladbrokes staff face horrific risks
Betting firm Ladbrokes has been accused of putting “profits before lives” after one lone worker was killed and a second was raped, the Mirror has reported. Former head of health and safety Bill Bennett, who the paper says has turned whistleblower, alleged: “Ladbrokes chose to prioritise profit over the health and safety of its employees.”
The Mirror. Risks 752. 4 June 2016

Britain: Fearful prison officers refuse work at Wormwood Scrubs
Prison staff at Wormwood Scrubs jail staged a 6 May work refusal over health and safety concerns. The union POA said its members had “individually chosen” not to enter the prison “as they have fears for their health and safety.”
POA news release. TUC news release. The Guardian. Morning Star. Risks 750. 14 May 2016

Britain: UK prison system in crisis as violence soars
An alarming rise in violent incidents has sparked warnings the prison system is failing prisoners and staff. Figures released by the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) have revealed that violence has increased in the past 12 months and, in some cases, is close to double the rates from 2010, with prisoner on staff assaults up from 3,640 in 2014 to 4,963 in 2015, an increase of 36 per cent.
Safety in Custody statistics, MoJ, 28 April 2016. POA news release. Howard League for Penal Reform news release. The Independent. Risks 749. 7 May 2016

Britain: Tackling prison fight cost worker her job
A former prison worker has been awarded £140,000 after a six-year legal battle with the prison service following an injury that ended her career. While working at a London young offender’s institute, the POA member had been restraining a prisoner after a fight had broken out.
Thompsons Solicitors news release. Risks 747. 23 April 2016

Britain: Have you experienced sexual harassment at work?
Recent TUC polling indicates that sexual harassment is still rife in many workplaces. As part of its project on sexual harassment in the workplace, the TUC would now like to hear about your experiences of sexual harassment. It has prepared a short online survey where you can describe your experience. The information you share will be treated in confidence and the survey can be completed anonymously.
TUC news alert. Take the survey now. Risks 747. 23 April 2016

Britain: Usdaw scoops top safety campaign award
Shopworkers’ trade union Usdaw has won a top award from the Suzy Lamplugh Trust for its Freedom from Fear campaign, recognising the union’s achievements in improving personal safety. The Trust’s National Personal Safety Awards recognise the work being done across the UK to keep people safe from violence and aggression and highlight best practice in the field.
Usdaw news release. Suzy Lamplugh TrustRisks 745. 9 April 2016

Ireland: Death threats against journalists condemned
The Irish prime minister Enda Kenny and the media union NUJ have condemned the threats made against a number of journalists in the Republic of Ireland. The threats follow two killings in a gangland feud in Dublin.
BBC News Online. Risks 739. 20 February 2016.

Britain: Higher fines should spur safety improvements
New sentencing guidelines recommending much higher fines on firms that break health and safety laws should increase the pressure on unsafe employers ‘to clean up their act’, the TUC has said. TUC head of safety Hugh Robertson said to make the system work better, there should also be more resources for the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), to cover the costs of bringing more cases to court.
TUC Stronger Unions blog. Risks 739. 20 February 2016.

Britain: ‘No excuse’ for widespread violence at work
One in eight people has experienced violence at work, according to new research published by the TUC. The poll over of over 1,600 adults carried out by YouGov for the union body, which has launched a new guide, reveals that 12 per cent of people have experienced work-related violence such as being pushed or spat on, punched or stabbed.
TUC news release, violence at work guidance and reporting form. Morning Star.
Hit list: TUC violence and abuse reporting form, Hazards magazine. Risks 738. 13 February 2016.

Britain: Unions back TUC violence action call
Unions representing health and retail workers have backed a TUC call for action to stem the widespread violence directed at workers. UNISON head of health Christina McAnea said the figures confirmed “the level of violence against medical and health care workers is unacceptably high” and John Hannett, general secretary of the shopworkers’ union Usdaw, said: “All too often criminals who assault staff are not even sent to court, and those who are can receive derisory sentences.”
UNISON news release. Usdaw news release. Risks 738. 13 February 2016.

Global: Unilever and unions in harassment agreement
Global soaps-to-snacks manufacturer Unilever has joined IndustriALL and IUF, the international trade unions representing the company’s union workforce, in a joint commitment to prevent sexual harassment in its workplaces worldwide.
IUF and IndustriALL news releases and joint statement. Risks 737. 6 February 2016

Britain: Action call after sharp rise in retail violence
Retail union Usdaw has called for action to prevent violence, threats and abuse against shopworkers after the British Retail Consortium (BRC) reported a sharp rise in incidents during 2015. Trade body BRC found offences involving abuse or violence against shopworkers were up by 28 per cent.
Usdaw news release. Risks 737. 6 February 2016

Britain: Education staff under attack at work
Forty-three per cent of education staff have had to deal with physical violence from a pupil in the last year, according to a survey by the teaching union ATL. The union says of those who have experienced physical violence from a pupil: 77 per cent reported they had been pushed or shoved; 52 per cent had been kicked; 50 per cent had an object such as furniture thrown at them; and 37 per cent had been punched.
ATL news release. Risks 737. 6 February 2016

Britain: Massive increase in railway race hate crimes
Race hate crimes on Britain’s railway networks have risen by 37 per cent in the past five years, an average of more than five reported incidents of abuse or harassment a day. RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: “These are truly shocking figures and match up with the reports that RMT members are feeding back to the union from the sharp end..”
RMT news release. The Guardian. Risks 737. 6 February 2016


 

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The TUC says reporting of work-related violence is critical in tackling the issue. The union body advises that without a strong and well-used reporting system, there will not be an effective response to incidents or a way to identify potential hotspots and trends. Here, it lays out its blow-by-blow guide.

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TUC briefing and draft reporting form.

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