A CAMPAIGN is urging Glasgow City Council to introduce policies forcing the nightlife industry to take responsibility for late night workers’ journey home. 

The Safe Home Campaign initially launched in 2018, encouraging employers to help late night workers with the costs of taxis. 

Now, after episodes of violence against women across the UK, including a case of sexual assault on a Glasgow woman who was forced to walk home after work, the initiative is relaunching to secure policy that would protect female workers in the city. 

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Over the weekend, campaigners have signed an open letter addressed to Glasgow City Council and backed by local union groups.

They will also launch a petition and rally in George Square this week to demand measures like paid transport provision become a condition for licensed premises.

Safe Home activist Eilis O’Keefe said: “Women’s safety is something that people are talking about again after the cases of violence against women that happened this year.

“So we thought it would be good to bring the campaign back and relaunch it officially.”

Caitlin Lee, who also leads the Safe Home campaign, said: “I worked a late night shift in May and couldn’t get a taxi home so I had to walk and hope for the best.

“Many workers finish past transport times, meaning they only have other options other than taxi and right now, there is a shortage in Glasgow, meaning you pay a massive surcharge, wait over an hour or walk home.

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“Financially, you also have to make a decision, for example if I didn’t get good tips I wouldn’t be able to get food, because I had to pay for a taxi home.”

The 25-year-old added: “We brought it up multiple times but my employer said the duty of care would be extending out of the workplace, so they didn’t need to do anything.

Glasgow Times:

“That’s why we are approaching this from the angle of the council and the Licensing Board, as they are very strict with licensed premises but don’t mention workers’ safety.”

24-year-old Eilis experienced similar issues after her late shifts at a previous job in Glasgow.

She said: “It was something that we raised repeatedly with management and despite meetings on the issue, we were consistently dismissed about. ” 

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Campaigners are highlighting the success of East Dunbartonshire Council, who adopted Safe Home for any licensed premises and are calling for Glasgow City Council to do the same. 

Bryan Simpson, industrial organiser at Unite Hospitality, said: “Most hospitality workers work past the last bus/train, but they are having to pay 2/3 hours wages for a taxi home. 

“This is unacceptable. Particularly during these dark and cold nights, workers are being put at unnecessary risk in having to walk miles home. 

“We will be campaigning vigorously to demand that employers provide safe transport home but we will also be pushing for councils to make transport home a requirement for a liquor licence.”

Glasgow Times: A light on a London taxi during a demonstation in central London against regulation of private hire taxis..

A spokesman for Glasgow Licensing Board said: “Through our pilot for extended opening hours for night clubs in Glasgow we have sought to encourage licence holders to see late night transport arrangements as part of their social responsibility for their staff.

“However, there is no power within the current licensing legislation that indicates transport arrangements for staff can be a condition of a liquor licence.”

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The taxi driver shortage has affected the number of taxis available in the city, causing issues for hospitality workers.

Dougie McPherson, Glasgow Taxis chairman, said: “Glasgow Taxis is and always has been committed to helping people get home safely especially at night, we are acutely aware of the challenges staff of the night-time economy can and currently face. 

“Customer safety is always a priority which is why we consistently advise to queue at ranks with marshalls and why we are always honest and manage customer expectations in terms of waiting times. 

“Specific to the night-time economy, we have also subsidised some work for partners in the hospitality trade to support them, however it should be remembered that our fares are set and regulated by Glasgow City Council, not by us. 

“Before the pandemic, we were already short of drivers for a number of reasons, then Covid was the catalyst for even more of our existing drivers leaving the trade.”