Sheffield City Council has suggested a new charter to help workers get home safe at night after increasing pressure from councillors about women’s safety.
The new charter, called ‘Get Me Home Safely’, will create safety provisions for workers and move towards introducing licensing conditions for businesses open till late at night.
The charter is inspired by Unite the Union’s Get ME Home Safely campaign and is expected to launch within three months.
A supporter of the initiative for late-night transport, Councillor Minesh Parekh said: “I have worked to get the Council to endorse Unite’s campaign because I know how important the issue of night-time safety is.”
Coun Parekh has continually pushed the council to respond to concerns surrounding workers’ and women’s safety.
He added: “Where there are Council powers, we can employ to help workers get home safely at night, then we should do our absolute most to implement them.
“I’m pleased the Council has agreed to my request and is working to develop a ‘Get ME Home Safely’ Charter.”
The Sheffield charter will ensure that businesses cater for their employees’ transportation home, be it by subsidising taxi costs or any other means.
The Council Officer who leads on the night-time economy said that the UTU campaign works “perfectly with the work we (Waste and Streetscene Committee) have done recently around launching the Sheffield Women and Girls Night-Time Safety Charter.”
The Officer also agreed with Coun Parekh’s reasoning on why Sheffield should back the campaign.
Unite the Union’s nationwide campaign aims to make communities and workplaces safer places for all members.
They call for improvement in late-night bus services, awareness of the costs of private travel (taxis), regulation changes and more enforcement against sexual assault.
A 2021 Unite survey found that over 60% of hospitality workers who responded had either experienced or witnessed sexual harassment in the workplace.
A spokesperson for Unite the Union said: “The campaign was motivated by an incident where a Unite activist was sexually assaulted on her way home from work after midnight.”
Newcastle City Council has been the first to back the campaign and implement safer night travel for workers.
In a recent tweet backing the UTU campaign, Newcastle Councillor Lesley Storey said: “Far too often, late-night workers become victims of harassment, unwanted attention, and abusive behaviour while travelling home.
“Nobody should ever have to suffer this type of abuse.”
Sheffield City Council will consult with Newcastle Council and obtain legal advice on introducing a similar clause for all new business licensees to have to introduce this provision for their employees.
As part of their initiative to ensure women’s and workers’ safety, Sheffield City Council will also be reviewing their Licensing Act Statement of Policy.
These reviews will fit in with the Council’s work on introducing the ‘Sheffield Women and Girls Night-Time Safety Charter’.
To read more about Sheffield’s demand for late-night travel, click here.
To read about the Night-Time Safety Charter, click here.
To see more about the Unite the Union’s campaign, click here.