Violence, threats and abuse against shopworkers is still a big problem says Usdaw

Date: 19 January 2015 Shopworkers trade union leader John Hannett has today launched the results of Usdaw’s Freedom From Fear survey, which tracks the levels of violence, threats and abuse against shopworkers.

In a survey of over 5,000 retail staff from across the UK, the results have shown that in the last twelve months on average 241 shopworkers are assaulted every day. The survey also reveals that 33% of shopworkers were 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.

“We have released our survey results on the same day that the British Retail Consortium has published their Retail Crime Survey. Both show the levels of offences have remained pretty steady from last year, which is little comfort for our members on the receiving end of violence and abuse. A worrying aspect of the BRC report is the increase in the value of shop theft, because all too often these incidents can lead to the criminal assaulting or abusing shop staff.

“Both surveys show that retail crime remains too high and there needs to be action to protect shopworkers. On four occasions, in the current Parliament, the Government has defeated amendments to their own legislation that would have provided stiffer penalties for those who assault shopworkers.

“It is time for the Government to act. Crime in shops remains steady and is not coming down in line with the overall levels crime. Retail staff have a crucial role in our communities and that role must be valued and respected.”

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 5,021 shopworkers was conducted by telephone in November and asked participants about their experiences over the past twelve months. The results were:

3.1% assaulted
33% threatened
56.3% verbally abused

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

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The official website of the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers