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Call for free transport to protect hospitality staff

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Nighttime venues may have to pay transport for late shift workers

Hospitality venues may be forced to provide free transport enabling workers to get home safely after a late shift.

Scottish Green MSP Maggie Chapman is working with Unite Hospitality and other stakeholders to prepare a Members’ Bill applicable to all new liquor licences.

Unite’s campaign, which the Bill supports, was motivated by an incident in 2021 when a Unite activist was sexually assaulted on her way home from work after midnight.

Ms Chapman said: “Intimidation, abuse and assault are all far too common in the hospitality industry. Particularly when low wages and poor conditions are so prevalent in the industry, many are forced to spend their shifts wondering how they will get home at the end of it.

“Everybody should be able to finish work with peace of mind and the knowledge that they will be able to get home safely. Yet, far too many employers feel that their obligations end as soon as the lights are out and the venue is closed.

“A lot of people, particularly women, do not feel safe waiting for public transport after dark. There have been far too many stories of harassment and attacks. Employers need to take the wellbeing of their staff seriously, especially if they expect to retain experienced staff.

“Many late workers are in low paid and precarious jobs. Many cannot afford taxi travel home after a shift and are forced to rely on buses and other forms of public transport which are often scarce or simply unavailable after midnight.

“That is why I am working with Unite and others to bring forward a Member’s Bill that will ensure all licensed venues are providing that safety and support for their workers.

“This is a simple step that would make a big difference to hospitality workers across Scotland. And it will be good for employers too: they are more likely to retain skilled and experienced staff if they look after their wellbeing.”

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