West Lothian Council to random drug test staff

West Lothian Council to random drug test staff

 


 

 

Unite membership survey  contact your rep for a hard copy or go online and  take the confidential electronic survey;

https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/WLCdrugtest

Your views will determine the Unite position


 

 

West Lothian Council to random drug test staff

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-edinburgh-east-fife-47868662

Drug testImage copyrightPA

West Lothian Council is to introduce random drug testing and a zero-tolerance drug and alcohol policy for employees in September 2019 .

The council’s Partnership and Resources Policy Development and Scrutiny Panel heard the plan was to introduce random tests for “safety critical” roles.

These include HGV drivers or bus drivers or those who operate heavy machinery – about 1,500 staff.

Unions say they have concern that some staff are being unfairly targeted.

Five councils in Scotland currently operate a “with cause” drug screening policy, including North Lanarkshire Council.

Reasonable belief

Shetland operates a random testing rule for its sea-going staff, while five local authorities in England have adopted or are considering adopting testing.

A spokeswoman for West Lothian Council said testing for staff out-with the designated “safety critical” roles would be on a “with cause” basis.

That would include a manager’s concern or reasonable belief that an employee was under the influence at work, where an incident had occurred or where there was a complaint or whistle-blowing incident.

Drug testing

Image captionThe council said those tested would be in safety critical jobs

Tests are to be carried out by an independent agency. Action taken following a positive result would depend on the circumstances, which would be investigated as part of a disciplinary investigation.

‘Other substances’

However,

Pat Tedford for the Unite union said: “Why are they singling out only a certain percentage of employees when we state that there is a zero tolerance policy?

“Zero tolerance means zero tolerance for everyone. Random testing acts as a deterrent for everyone.”

Julie Whitelaw, head of corporate services, said random testing had been based on risks to employees and risks to customers and relied on health and safety guidance of certain jobs.

Drugs routinely tested for include cannabis, cocaine, amphetamines (including Ecstasy), barbiturates and a range of other substances.

Councillor Lawrence Fitzpatrick, chairing the meeting, said there would be further consultations with the unions before the policy was implemented in September adding: “There is no distinction here between blue collar and white collar rules.”

 

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Drugs

Employers have a big drug and alcohol problem. They are wasting millions on testing and firing workers. Providing support and a healthier working environment would provide a cheaper and more effective resolution to the bad working conditions causing worker impairment.

http://www.hazards.org/drugs/

 


 

wlc su4yraw

Unite position 

Our members will  fight any  intrusion into  their human rights and any policy will have to be fully open transparent and consistent  The council has a policy  on zero tolerance if  there is reasonable belief this will have to encompass poor performance or a breach of health & safety  as trade union and academic studies carried out by  /for the TUC  states

No Evidence of Improved Safety 

There is no real evidence that
regular drug testing has any effect on
production or safety and Unions  should
resist it.

‘…the biggest criticism of any form of drug testing is that it does not tell an employer what they want to know, which is whether someone is, or was, under
the influence of drugs while at work. It will, at best, tell you that the person is likely
to have consumed a particular drug in the recent past”

“Alcohol  testing can give an indication of impairment  and is already covered by health & safety laws and policies at work ”

Cost to the employer

Drug testing is costly and time-consuming process that is often used by organisations as a substitute for an effective drug and alcohol policy.

 

Click to access DrugTestingintheWorkplace.pdf


Unite the Union will be consulting with our membership and working with our sister union, GMB,  to  bring about the following

  1. No implementation of random drug testing in West Lothian Unless full consent from trade union membership
  2. No to endorsing West Lothian Council to be one of the first councils in Scotland to have this draconian policy
  3. No breaches of civil liberties or Human rights at work
  4. Lobby councilors on the  academic research on  random drug & alcohol testing  is not the best way forward  within WLC
  5. Awaiting hard evidence from the council that the introduction of this policy what does this achieve?
  6. A comprehensive training and awareness program prior to any implementation (subject to point 1)
  7. .Survey our membership  on their feelings and views of the  proposed  implementation of this policy

 

Unite membership survey  contact your rep for a hard copy or go online and  take the confidential electronic survey;

https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/WLCdrugtest

Your views will determine the Unite position and if the feeling of the membership is that we act on this as a union , we will implement a consultative ballot with a view to industrial action.


If an agreement for a random drug and alcohol testing  policy introduced  it will be   only  endorsed that everyone working in the council from the chief executive and councilors and all workers grades will be subject to the same  ” with cause “policy

Zero Tolerance  means  Zero tolerance – we are all equal at work    zero tolerance and any  tests will be  (subject to point 1)

Click to access DrugTestingintheWorkplace.pdf

 

Checklist

Cost to the employer

Drug testing is costly and time-consuming
process that is often used by organisations
as a substitute for an effective drugs and
alcohol policy.

No Evidence of Improved Safety 

There is no real evidence that
regular drug testing has any effect on
production or safety and branches should
resist it.

However, if an employer does
introduce a testing program unite
should ensure that it is fully agreed by the union  and have the following points :
✓ It is done by a laboratory accredited
by the UK Accreditation Service.
✓ Before a testing regime is
introduced there is a 28 day period
to allow people to come forward
with any concerns or disclose and
problems.
✓ It is part of an effective and agreed
workplace drug and alcohol policy
which aims at supporting any person
with a drug or alcohol problem.
✓ There is an information and
education campaign on drugs and
alcohol
✓ It is only done after impairment
testing has been carried out and
there is evidence that the person
may be impaired as a result of drugs.
✓ No samples are taken without the
informed consent of the person (this
cannot be given under duress).
✓ There is an appeals process, with
right to union representation, if
anyone tests positive

✓ All employees from the highest grade –  from top to bottom of the pay grades are subject to the same  identification and  conducting of a test  all employees can identify work colleagues through a confidential  hotline and know who has made the decision to authorize a test and confidentiality & support  for anyone tests positive

✓ All employees randomly tested can have a Unite the union rep  accompany them during the process

 

join unite 444


Guidelines  and Information from TUs

ACAS Guidelines on drugs & alcohol at work 

ACAS provides guidelines on drugs and alcohol policies in its Health Work and Wellbeing  booklet. It stresses that any policy should aim to protect workers and encourage sufferers to seek help.

It also recommends to employers that when they become aware of the issue they should:

  • keep accurate, confidential records of instances of poor performance or other problems
  • interview the worker in private as early as possible in the process
  • concentrate on the instances of poor performance that have been identified
  • ask for the worker’s reasons for poor performance and question whether it could be due to a health problem, without specifically mentioning alcohol or drugs
  • if appropriate, discuss your alcohol and drugs policy and the help available inside or outside you’re your organisation
  • agree future action
  • arrange regular meetings to monitor progress and discuss any further problems if they arise

However, these must be done in the framework of an agreed drugs and alcohol policy which all staff are aware of :

Where many drugs and alcohol policies fall down is in the provision of concrete assistance to those who have a problem. The employer will have to have some kind of arrangement to support workers who are identified as needing help. An Employee Assistance Programme can be useful in suggesting organisations that may be able to help the person. Many occupational health providers will be able to provide some kind of rehabilitation but, unless your employer already has comprehensive occupational health support, they will have to find out what provision there is locally and what kind of service they can expect.

Unions make work safer

Britain: Drug driving limits nothing to do with safety
A government proposed ‘drug driving’ limit has nothing to do with safety at work, the TUC has said. TUC head of safety Hugh Robertson said the new limits will lead to a “big increase” in drug testing at work and in workers being disciplined or fired for “being over the limit,” despite no evidence of impairment.
TUC Stronger Unions blogdrugs testing guidance and guidance on alcohol and drugs• Risks 652 • 3 May 2014

 

Britain: Drug testers ‘play judge and jury’ at work
Companies are misusing drug tests to “play judge and jury” over workers and to intimidate their staff, GMB reps have said. Delegates at the union’s annual congress called for companies to offer “proper training and support” on substance abuse and “not just sanction after sanction.”
Morning StarRisks 75411 June 2016.

 

Britain: Bus driver was unfairly dismissed after botched drugs test
A bus driver and former union rep who was sacked after testing positive for cocaine has been ‘exonerated’ and awarded almost £40,000 in compensation at an employment tribunal. Employment Judge Tobin said Ken Ball had, 62, was unfairly dismissed by First Essex Buses because managers had “closed their minds to all possible explanations that did not fit their predetermined conclusions,” adding the company’s approach was “puerile” and “grossly unfair”.
Unite news releaseBBC News Online. Risks 877. 1 December 2018

 

Britain: Drug testing is not the answer to work problems
Drug testing at work is not a substitute for a good drugs and alcohol policy nor does it tell employers what they need to know, the TUC has said. Launching new guides on drug testing at work and on workplace drug and alcohol policies, TUC head of safety Hugh Robertson said despite efforts to market drug testing at work the approach isn’t proving popular with UK firms “for the simple reason that it does not tell the employer what they need to know, which is whether someone is working unsafely because of drug use regardless of whether the substance is illegal or not.”
TUC blog and new guides on drug and alcohol policies and on drug testingRisks 8872 March 2019

 

Impaired thinking Britain’s employers have a big drug and alcohol problem. They are wasting millions on testing and firing workers. Hazards says providing support and a healthier working environment would provide a cheaper and more effective resolution to the bad working conditions causing worker impairment.
Hazards 100, November 2007

The drug testing habit The drug tests don’t work, but that’s not stopping employers. Hazards argues for sensible drug and alcohol policies.
Hazards 84, October 2003 and Hazards 84 feature [pdf]

Surveillance in the workplace If employers have their way they will soon be testing more than your patience. Companies are becoming more and more keen on alcohol, drug and genetic testing at work. They monitor your email, your phone calls, your work rate and your whereabouts. Hazards warns this scrutiny is a dangerous distraction that will be bad for your safety and privacy, and argues it may be their company, but your body is your business. Hazards Testing Times webpages

Drugs and alcohol When it comes to dealing responsibly with drinking problems at work, research shows we should target the boardroom, not the bar room. And dealing with drugs at work can mean giving management methods a fix. Frequently the problem is more work style than lifestyle. A Hazards guide to sensible workplace drugs and alcohol policies.
Hazards 77, Jan-March 2002 [pdf]

Just say no to…drugs testing Surveillance for drugs in the workplace is a solution looking for a problem, says Hazards. Evidence suggests that it is bad jobs that lead to bad habits, that drug testing is an intrusive and suspect science and that drug-related problems should be a matter for the sickness, not the disciplinary, procedure.
Hazards 55, July-Sept 1996

 

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You can join  Unite the Union online : https://join.unitetheunion.org/

 

 

Get Active!

Get Organised!

Get Protected!

Or contact one of the Unite reps  (Details below)

 

 

West Lothian Council  Local Unite contacts 

Unite the Union Shop Stewards/ Workplace Reps

Whitehill Service Centre

Senior Steward: Pat Tedford

Mobile:   07787 102 636  Email :  pat.tedford@unitetheunion.org

Davy Johnstone : Email : d.johnstone70@talktalk.net

Davy Dowds : Email : dowdsdavid1@gmail.com

Donald Smail: Email : donaldiansmail@gmail.com

 

Andy Dowds: Email : andydowds@live.co.uk

Bobby Lee: Email :  Bobby.lee@westlothian.gov.uk

Kirkton Service Centre

 

Unite the Union Workplace Reps

Rab Brown  Unite Convenor: Email  robert.brown@westlothian.gov.uk

Tam Brown Unite Rep: Email: tam.brown@unitewlc.org

Jade Deans Unite Rep: Email:jaderooney91@hotmail.com

Ryan Morcombe: Email  ryan.morcombe@unitewlc.org

Frank O Neil : Email  foneil@hotmail.com

 

Contact can be made through mobile phone app on android devices Unite@WLC

 

 


 

 

 

Unite membership survey  contact your rep for a hard copy or go online and  take the confidential electronic survey;

https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/WLCdrugtest

Your views will determine the Unite position

 

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