Bus drivers "urgently need protection" following Elgin death of Keith Rollinson, union says
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FOLLOWING the "appalling" death of Keith Rollinson after an alleged attack at Elgin Bus Station, a union has demanded better legal protection for bus drivers.
Unite offered its sympathy to the family of bus driver Mr Rollinson (58), who was a member of the union.
General secretary Sharon Graham said drivers were forced to tackle "dangerous incidents" on a daily basis.
Describing the risk of abuse or assault as "an intolerable occupational hazard", the union boss demanded that "proper measures" be put in place to protect staff.
“The appalling news that Mr Rollinson died following an assault at work has shaken our union to its core," Ms Graham said.
"We want to express our deep and sincere condolences to Mr Rollinson’s family at this unbearably difficult time.
“The stark reality is that bus drivers regularly and routinely confront dangerous incidents.
"It has become an intolerable occupational hazard for bus drivers on a daily basis, especially for those working late at night and in remote areas.
"Any abuse of workers is entirely unacceptable and Unite will continue to do everything possible to ensure that proper measures are in place to protect workers.”
Unite has called for legislation making it a specific offence to assault, threaten or abuse transport workers while at work.
Currently, the Emergency Workers (Scotland) Act 2005 only makes it a specific offence to assault, obstruct or hinder someone providing an emergency service.
Unite Scottish Secretary Derek Thomson said: “We need legislation which provides stronger statutory protection for transport workers, which is fully enforced.
"Unite is committed to make this a reality in the interests of thousands of workers who urgently need protection.
“The Scottish government must act to ensure that transport workers are properly protected and Unite will ensure that ministers introduce the necessary measures.”
According to the union, transport workers, including taxi drivers and bus drivers, are particularly vulnerable to assault and robbery with many fearful about returning to work following incidents.