Council backs calls for free and safe transport for late night workers

A motion was brought before Glasgow councillors after the campaign received cross party support.

Glasgow City Council back calls for free and safe transport for late night workers lodged by Unite iStock

A campaign urging employers to provide free and safe transport home for all workers late at night has gained the backing of councillors.

Unite the union announced on Friday that Glasgow City Council became the eighth and largest local authority to back the Get Me Home Safely campaign.

The union argued that because there are often no safe public transport options late at night, its members are spending the equivalent of two hours’ wages on getting home safely from work.

A motion was brought before Glasgow councillors after the campaign had previously received cross party support.

Hailing the move, Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Unite’s campaign is clocking up support in council after council as we press for the safe-keeping of shift workers, many of whom are women workers, who do not have a safe route home.

“The support of Glasgow City Council is an important milestone and we call on other local authorities to follow suit.

“Unite will not stop until the impossible choice of staying safe or saving wages is made a thing of the past.”

The Get Me Home Safely campaign brings together hospitality and passenger transport members. 

It was launched in 2021 by Unite after union member Caitlin Lee was sexually assaulted walking home from work after her employer – a five star hotel chain – refused to provide her a taxi home after a 12am finish.

Caitlin Lee, organiser for Unite Hospitality, added: “Workers are being placed in a horrible situation because there are just too few safe and affordable options for getting home at night.

“I don’t want what happened to me to happen to any other worker, which is why there must be change. The backing of Glasgow council, a city with a huge hospitality sector, is really important. Now we need to see that translate into safe transport home.”

As well as organising workers to win safe and free transport home from employers, Unite’s campaign seeks to encourage local authorities to make safe and free transport home for late night workers a requirement for new and extended alcohol licences. 

The campaign has already been backed by councils in Sheffield, Newcastle, Edinburgh, East Dunbartonshire, North Ayrshire, Falkirk and Dundee where workers are already starting to see the benefits of safe and free transport home past the last bus, train or tram.

Nearly six in ten workers report that their employers have never provided them with safe transport home after work, a Unite poll revealed earlier this year.

Glasgow City Council has been contacted for comment.

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