MSPs reject Protection of Workers Bill

Plans to bring in a specific offence for assaulting workers who deal with the public have been rejected.

Labour's Hugh Henry brought the backbench bill, saying employees such as shop-workers or train and bus conductors needed extra protection.

However, ministers say people are already protected under common law support, whether they work with the public or not.

MSPs voted down the the Protection of Workers Bill in parliament.

Mr Henry had said the legislation was backed by shop-workers, major retailers and transport workers.

It is already a specific offence to assault or obstruct people providing emergency care, such as doctors and nurses.

Mr Henry's bill won support from shop-workers union Usdaw, the Scottish Grocers' Federation and the Co-operative Group.

However, Holyrood's economy committee, which has been scrutinising the bill, said it would not extend the legal protection currently in force and recommended it be voted down.

The Scottish government took a similar view.

The economy committee called for consideration to be given to new prosecution and sentencing guidelines in relation to assaults on workers who deal with the public, to tackle the perception that aggravating circumstances are not taken seriously.

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