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Increase in abuse against water workers linked to sewage dumping

A GMB survey of nearly 1,300 water workers reveals that over half report increased abuse, including machete attacks and deliberate sewage splashing

According to a survey conducted by GMB, more than half of water workers, totalling almost 1,300 respondents, have reported an escalation in abuse, including violent incidents such as machete attacks and deliberate sewage splashing.

Many workers expressed feeling unsafe, with 52% attributing the rise in abuse to reports of sewage dumping and increased pollution.

Additionally, findings from nearly 700 respondents in the water sector indicate concerns over unreported spills, with 21.55% witnessing such incidents in the past year.

Only 19.83% believe that the physical infrastructure of wastewater treatment works and sewage networks is adequately maintained to minimise leaks or discharges, and 22% have either been encouraged to underreport spills or know colleagues who have.

Gary Carter, GMB National Officer, said: “No one should go to work and face abuse.

“But this situation is horrifying because the negligent actions of water bosses in allowing sewage dumping to rocket has exposed their own workers to physical and verbal violence.

“In many cases, water bosses are actively discouraging the reporting of spills – which is a complete dereliction of duty.”

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