Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar backs sexual assault prevention Get Me Home Safely campaign

The Scottish Labour leader has backed a campaign calling for local authorities and employers to ensure women get home safely.

Unite’s Get Me Home Safely campaign was set up to ensure employers and governments took preventative steps to ensure no women came in harm’s way on their way to and from work.

Motivated by an incident last year where a Unite activist was sexually assaulted on her way home from work after midnight, the campaign calls for employers to embed safe transport home policies for all workers such as adopting risk assessments that include an individual’s journey times and potential hazards once they’ve left the workplace.

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It also calls on local governments to make free transport home for staff a prerequisite for all new liquor licenses.

Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar and deputy UK Labour leader Angela Rayner met with Unite to discuss the campaign.Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar and deputy UK Labour leader Angela Rayner met with Unite to discuss the campaign.
Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar and deputy UK Labour leader Angela Rayner met with Unite to discuss the campaign.

The campaign calls for legislative change as well to address the weakness in enforcement of the law against sexual assault and harassment on public transport and to lobby the government for municipal ownership of buses as a way to tackle the chronic shortage of night services.

Following implementation of this at East Dunbartonshire, North Ayrshire and Newcastle Councils, late night workers in those constituencies are now benefiting from free taxis home past the last bus, train and tram.

At an event in Glasgow, Anas Sarwar and Mayor of Manchester Andy Burnham supported the campaign with the Scottish Labour leader saying he will continue talks with Unite to ensure implementation of the proposals in more councils across Scotland.

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Asked by The Scotsman whether he backs the campaign, Mr Sarwar said: "I completely support the campaign and the demands of Unite Hospitality group.

“Women have to think twice about charging their phone, how they commute to and from work, how they commute to and from a night out and there is a responsibility I think on local authorities, on our public services, on our national governments but also on employers to make sure that workers are safe at work but also that they are safe getting to work and safe getting home from work.

"I will continue to work closely with Unite Hospitality to make those actions and the demands they have a reality in this local authority in Glasgow and local authorities across the country because quite frankly it's unacceptable for anyone to be in that position."

He added it is "perfectly reasonable" for Unite to say there is a responsibility on our local decision-makers to make sure women are safe and it is "unacceptable" for Scotland to have a transport system which “shuts down” and allows taxi companies to charge "premium rates".

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Mr Sarwar also said sexual harassment has to be confronted "head on" and it is not just an issue which affects the hospitality sector but across all sectors.

He said it is “a duty” for political parties to amplify the voices of women who face sexual harassment.

Bryan Simpson, industrial organiser for Unite Scotland, said: “We are pleased to have such strong support from both Anas Sarwar and Andy Burnham for our Get Me Home Safely campaign.

“First and foremost, this is an industrial campaign about workers collectively winning safe and free transport home from their employer. But it is also a political campaign which calls on local authorities to make safe and free transport home a requirement for a liquor license."



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