British Retail Crime Survey shows a shocking rise in attacks on shopworkers - Usdaw calls for action

Date: 01 February 2016 Shopworkers’ trade union leader John Hannett has called for action to prevent violence, threats and abuse against shopworkers as the British Retail Consortium (BRC) reveals a 28% increase in incidents during 2015.
Data collected by the BRC shows that the human cost of retail crime is growing, with a 28% increase in offences involving abuse or violence against shopworkers; rising to 41 out of every 1,000 crimes committed compared to 32 out of 1,000 reported in 2014.

Interim results of Usdaw’s annual survey of shopworkers show that over half of shopworkers were verbally abused in the last year, with more than 10% on a weekly or daily basis, 3 in 10 were threatened with violence and over 2% were assaulted. Worryingly 1 in 5 shopworkers did not report to their employer a violent attack by a customer.

John Hannett – Usdaw General Secretary says: “All too often shopworkers encounter violence, threats and abuse for simply doing their job. So this latest survey from the British Retail Consortium is very worrying.

“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 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. It is time for the Government to act by providing stiffer penalties for those who assault shopworkers. 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 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.
For Usdaw press releases visit: http://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