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Over 2,500 Scottish shopworkers were assaulted last year says Usdaw

Date: 23 April 2015 Shopworkers trade union leader John Hannett has today released survey results which show that last year 2,500 Scottish shopworkers were assaulted, with nearly 30% threatened by customers and over half were verbally abused.
John Hannett – Usdaw General Secretary says: “Our survey shows that life on the frontline of retail can be pretty tough for many shopworkers and there is still a lot to do to help protect them. So we welcome Labour’s manifesto commitment to ensure staff who work with the public are given greater protection, with tougher penalties for those who assault them.

“We launched our Freedom From Fear Campaign in the face of growing concerns amongst retail workers about violence, threats and abuse. The campaign works with retailers to promote respect and make workplaces safer for staff and customers alike.

“All too often criminals who assault staff are not even sent to court, and those who are can receive derisory sentences. In other cases, where the offender often isn’t charged at all victims are left feeling that no one cares that they were assaulted.

“Retail crime remains too high and there needs to be action to protect shopworkers. The record shows that only Labour will deliver the necessary protection. Retail staff have a crucial role in our communities and that role must be valued and respected.”

Karen Whitefield – Usdaw’s Campaigns Officer says: “Violence, threats and abuse against workers is one of the great scourges of our society and these figures, looking solely at the plight of shopworkers, are shocking and show that urgent action is required.

“Scotland's shopworkers were very badly let down by the SNP. They legislated to put retail staff on the frontline of preventing under-age sales, yet blocked any further discussion about protecting those same shopworkers when doing their jobs. The SNP Government’s warm words and sympathy isn't going to stop or deter the thug that attacks one of our members for refusing to sell them alcohol."

“Scottish Labour in Government acted to protect emergency service workers, but I think the time has come to extend that. Labour’s Hugh Henry MSP did introduce the Protection of Workers (Scotland). However the SNP Government rejected the general principles of the issue and kicked the Bill out at second reading.

“Scottish Labour’s pledge to frontline workers is that will make it a priority to protect frontline workers from violence threats and abuse. Labour will act, if the SNP Government continues to refuse to. It won't be lost on our members or frontline staff in other sectors which party really takes violence against workers seriously."

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 433,000 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.

Usdaw’s survey of Scottish shopworkers was conducted by telephone in November and asked participants about their experiences over the past twelve months. The results were:

Assaulted                  1%

Threatened               28.7%

Verbally abused       53.1%

For Usdaw press releases visit: www.usdaw.org.uk/news<http://www.usdaw.org.uk/news> and you can follow us on Twitter @UsdawUnion

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