Held a meeting yesterday with Hugh Henry MSP to discuss his Protection of Workers Bill that has recently been introduced to Parliament.
The Bill will make it an offence to assault a worker who deals with the public in the course of, or by reason of that workers employment. In essence it aims to strengthen the criminal sanctions against the growing number of people who believe it is acceptable to assault workers providing a public service. It has similar provisions to the Emergency Workers Act, whilst covering a much wider group of workers.
The principle of the Bill is very welcome and something UNISON has campaigned for since the EWA came into force. We will want to strengthen some of the provisions, to ensure that the Bill's definitions don't leave any significant loopholes.
The Bill has been supported by most Scottish Labour MSPs and very helpfully by three SNP MSPs (John Wilson, Bill Kydd and Bill Wilson), because that has allowed the Bill to proceed. The next stage is to build on this cross party support, and with the other trade unions involved, we will be launching a campaign to raise awareness of the Bill amongst members and encourage more MSPs to support the Bill.