Doncaster UNISON condemns ‘shocking’ violence against staff in Hesley Group
The Doncaster Star’s recent shocking report into violence against staff working for the Hesley Group has revealed “disgraceful” failures to protect staff and the welfare of patients, public service union UNISON said today.
UNISON Regional Organiser Melanie Onn said: “UNISON has long been aware of incidents of violence against members of staff in Hesley. Of the 1200 staff, 300 are members of UNISON.
“ We have worked hard to try to encourage the employer to take its duty of care towards staff more seriously but they have consistently rejected our efforts to help.
“ It is shocking that staff are put in harm’s way. No member of staff should fear physical assault at work. The people our members care for are also suffering because of the management’s failures to properly diagnose and treat people who are prone to violence. It is disgraceful that this level of violence has not been properly addressed and dealt with.”
“Hesley Group should take immediate steps to put in place proper protection measures for staff who are currently going to work in an unsafe workplace which leaves the employer wide open to personal injury claims which could run into thousands of pounds if they do not do so.”
The 15 incidents referred to within the report are likely to be those that are reportable to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). But the statistics do not include the hundreds of injuries suffered by staff of a lower level, such as bites, scratches and light bruising which can often leave permanent scarring.
Melanie warned that a reduction in the quality of training provided to staff was at the heart of the problem.
New staff receive limited training from largely inexperienced mentors. A combination of an unsupportive employer and low salaries mean that there is a very high turnover of staff which compromises the consistency of care being provided.
She added: “ Our members came into this caring profession to assist vulnerable people with very personal needs and challenging behaviours. On a daily basis they face institutional barriers to providing high levels of care and are being paid bargain basement wages to boot.
“These incidents of violence are completely unacceptable. It is indicative of the Hesley Group’s attitude towards staff in general.”
UNISON wants to come to a recognition agreement with Hesley Group which would enable issues such as these to be highlighted and resolved at an early stage.
However, despite significant membership across the five worksites this has been rejected by Hesley’s management. UNISON now calls on all employees of the Hesley Group to join UNISON today to help us gain an automatic right to recognition with this employer. UNISON knows from experience that active unions within the workplace improves health and safety and is a critical mechanism to enhancing the working lives of staff. UNISON also believes this would lead to better care in a safe environment for clients.
Join UNISON by going to www.joinunison.org or calling 0800 171 2193.
Melanie Onn recently Tweeted (from @OnnMel) about the Hesley Group’s threat to call the police to remove UNISON Organisers from the public highway outside of Hesley buildings whilst trying to recruit new members. She is available for further comment on 07904 427603. Or by email on firstname.lastname@example.org