Shopworkers’ trade union Usdaw continues to be disappointed by the Government’s repeated opposition to tougher laws to protect retail staff against violence, threats and abuse, after the Justice Secretary defends the status quo in a House of Commons question time.
Usdaw’s 2020 survey of 2,729 shopworkers across the UK found that:
- 88% experienced verbal abuse
- 61% were threatened by a customer,
- 9% were assaulted.
Paddy Lillis – Usdaw General Secretary says: “Business as usual is not what our members need. They are key workers who have seen an already growing problem become much worse during the pandemic as incidents of violence, threats and abuse doubled during the peak of the crisis. We are grateful to Mike Hill MP for raising the issue, but deeply disappointed to hear the Justice Secretary claim that existing sentencing is enough of a deterrent, when quite clearly that isn’t the case.
“Our latest survey results lay bare the scale of the appalling violence, threats and abuse faced by shopworkers and demonstrate the need for a ‘protection of shopworkers’ law. It has been a terrible year for our members, with almost 90% of shopworkers suffering abuse, two-thirds threatened and nearly one in ten assaulted. Retail workers, their friends, family and loved ones, are saying loud and clear that enough is enough, abuse should never be just a part of the job.
“The UK Government responded to our petition with little more than sympathy and objected to the Alex Norris ‘protection of shopworkers’ bill. Last month we had a great result for our members in Scotland, as MSPs voted through ground-breaking legislation to give shopworkers the protection of the law that they deserve. So we are now looking for MPs to support key workers across the retail sector and help turn around the UK Government’s opposition.”