Glasgow Council urged to back bid to give hospitality staff free transport to ‘get home safely’

Hospitality workers are demanding councillors in Scotland’s largest local authority introduce a new requirement for those working late in venues such as pubs and clubs to be provided with free transport home at the end of their shift.

Caitlin Lee, from the Unite union, is leading the Get Me Home Safely (GMHS) campaign after she was sexually assaulted while walking home from work.

The hotel where she worked had refused to pay for her to get a taxi home after she finished her shift at midnight.

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Ms Lee, the chair of Unite Hospitality in Glasgow, said: “I don’t want what happened to me to happen to any other worker, which is why we launched Get Me Home Safely.”

Taxis in Glasgow. Picture: John Devlin

A motion, to be debated at the full meeting of Glasgow City Council today, calls on the authority to make the provision of safe and free transport home for staff working past 11pm a requirement for any new and extended alcohol licences.

Since the campaign was started last year, similar schemes have been introduced by Edinburgh City Council, East Dunbartonshire, North Ayrshire, Falkirk and Dundee.

But Ms Lee said: “As the biggest local authority in the country, passing GMHS in Glasgow would send the strongest message yet to late night workers and employers alike that transport home after a late-night shift is fundamentally important to their overall safety and working conditions.”

She said: “The responsibility for workers’ safety to and from late-night work should not fall on to the worker – it must be with the employers and politicians at all levels to ensure we are safe.

“This motion is incredibly important in shifting the responsibility to Glasgow employers and Unite Hospitality will always fight for workers’ safety in their workplace and on their way home.”

Eunis Jassemi, Labour councillor for the Victoria Park ward in Glasgow, said the motion would have his party’s full support.

Mr Jassemi, a former hospitality worker, said: “Glasgow has some of the best bars and restaurants in the country and that’s down to the high quality service the hospitality sector provides.

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“They go above and beyond to serve our city well to Glaswegians as well as international visitors, it’s time we stood up for them and give them the respect they deserve.”

He called on the council to “be bold”, saying: “We can’t have the same old approach and tinker around the edges.

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