Council stubbs out smoking

A BOROUGH council leader has dismissed suggestions the authority pays to help its employees quit smoking.Ipswich council is set to go smoke-free from January, but union Unison has voiced concern about the plan and suggested “further thought and financial commitment” from the council to support smoking employees adapt to the change.

A BOROUGH council leader has dismissed suggestions the authority pays to help its employees quit smoking.

Ipswich council is set to go smoke-free from January, but union Unison has voiced concern about the plan and suggested “further thought and financial commitment” from the council to support smoking employees adapt to the change.

A free course has been secured by the authority for employees who want to kick the habit, but leader Liz Harsant said yesterday she did not believe they should fund any further courses at taxpayers' expense.

“I don't think we can be seen to do that. I don't think it is fair or reasonable and I don't think you would get that off a commercial business.


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“It is not easy to give up smoking but there are a lot of other aids around,” she said.

Her comments follow a letter sent to the authority by Unison speaking out against the move.

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The letter, sent in October, states: “Unison cannot support the implementation of this policy on January 1, 2006.

“Unison believes that the implementation of the policy at that time is premature of the regulative need and that this policy requires further work in several areas.”

It adds: “Unison fully understands the legislative requirement for council buildings to become smoke free by the end of 2006 and supports the need for a policy to implement the legislative requirement.

“However, Unison believes that further thought and a financial commitment is needed by and from the council as to how it will support its employees who are smokers through the implementation of this policy.

“The policy is thin on the commitment the council will give in assisting those who smoke - stating it will 'endeavour to provide supporting advice and information to help smokers cope with this change'.

“It is recognised that smoking is an addiction and true support needs to be given to those who cannot cease to smoke, as well as those who may decide that they wish to stop smoking.”

Under the new policy, workers will not be allowed to smoke in council premises, including council vehicles. Visitors will also be barred from smoking on council premises.

“Doorstep” smoking, or lighting up outside while at work, will be discouraged.

The issue is set to be discussed by Ipswich Borough Council's executive committee tomorrow .

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