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Black Friday caused a two-thirds increase in abuse against shopworkers last year says Usdaw

Date: 26 November 2015 Shopworkers’ trade union leader John Hannett has called for calm on Black Friday as the union’s latest survey results show that last year’s Black Friday sales resulted in a two-thirds increase in incidents of verbal abuse, threats and violence against retail staff.
On average every day across the UK, over 5% of shopworkers suffer violence, threats and abuse, according to an Usdaw survey of 2,500 retail staff. That amounts to 180,000 incidents, but it dramatically increased by two-thirds on Black Friday last year.

John Hannett – Usdaw General Secretary says: "Our members have real concerns about Black Friday on 27 November. The last two years have seen unprecedented scenes of mayhem in some stores, as bargain hunting turns into a frenzy.

“We have been talking to retailers, who have responded positively about organising their events to maximise safety and security for staff and customers alike. We also welcome the interest of the police who have urged retailers to organise these sales events carefully.

“Incidents of violence, threats and abuse against shopworkers are already worryingly high, with our survey suggesting there are over 180,000 incidents every day. We know from talking to our members that the number of incidents increased on Black Friday last year, not just in frequency but also in severity, and the latest survey findings bear that out.

“My message to shoppers is clear. Enjoy your bargain hunting, keep your cool and respect shopworkers.”

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 440,000 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.

Interim results of Usdaw’s Freedom From Fear Survey: The survey was conducted in face-to-face interviews of 2,536 shopworkers by Usdaw reps who asked them to talk about their experiences at work over the last twelve months.
  • How often have you been a victim of verbal abuse? 1-3 times 33%, Monthly 8%, Weekly 8%, Daily 3% Total abused 52%
  • How often have you been threatened by a customer? 1-3 times 24%, Monthly 4%, Weekly 1.5%, Daily 0.5% Total threatened 30%
  • 9% have been a victim of physical violence from customers, 2.13% in the last twelve months and 22.5% didn’t report it to their employer.
  • The aggregate of these statistics means that over 5% of the UK’s 3 million shopworkers are abused, threatened or assaulted each day, however on Black Friday that number went up to 8.37%.
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