Speaking at the start of Respect for Shopworkers Week, John Hannett - Usdaw General Secretary says: “Too often retail employees are confronted with violence, threats and abuse and it is really important we stand together and ask people to keep their cool and respect shopworkers.
“In the course of their duties, shopworkers are expected to enforce the law. Whether that is preventing under-age purchases of products like knives, tobacco or alcohol, or detaining shoplifters until the police arrive, they can be put in real danger. Parliament has given shopworkers the duty to enforce the law and Parliament should provide the necessary protection. So it has been disappointing to see Tory and Liberal MPs, on four occasions in the last couple of years, combine to vote down additional legal protections when proposed by Labour.
“I’ve been shocked by the leniency of some of the sentences handed out for the assault of workers and our survey shows there is a real need to tackle this problem. Every minute of every day another shopworker is assaulted, threatened or abused and it is time to say enough is enough. The Government must act to address this issue and act quickly.
“Usdaw continues to campaign for a change in the law to ensure that proper punishments are given out. We must give a clear message that assaulting workers who are serving the public is totally unacceptable.”
Notes for editors:
Usdaw (Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers) is the UK's fourth biggest and the fastest growing Trade Union with over 431,000 members. Membership has increased by more than 17% in the last five years and by nearly a third in the last decade. Most Usdaw members work in the retail sector, but the Union also has many members in transport, distribution, food manufacturing, chemicals and other trades.
Respect for Shopworkers Week is an annual campaign week, which is part of Usdaw’s Freedom from Fear Campaign. This year it is 10-14 November and shopworkers up and down the country are organising events to raise awareness with the public about the reality of violence, threats and abuse on the frontline of retail.
For Usdaw press releases visit: www.usdaw.org.uk/news and you can follow us on Twitter @UsdawUnion