TUC survey confirms Usdaw concerns about violence against shopworkers

Date: 08 February 2016 Shopworkers’ trade union leader John Hannett has expressed concern about a TUC survey published today which finds one in eight people experience violence at work.

The poll, carried out by YouGov for the TUC and released today to coincide with the start of ‘heartunions’ week, reveals that 12% of people have experienced work-related violence. Medical and health workers were the biggest group to say they have faced work-related violence (22%), followed by workers in education (12%), hospitality and leisure (11%), retail (9%) and manufacturing (6%).

John Hannett – Usdaw General Secretary says: “All too often shopworkers encounter violence, threats and abuse for simply doing their job and this latest survey from the TUC confirms there is a real issue to be addressed.

“Our own survey of over 2,000 shopworkers showed that 9% have been assaulted. Last month the British Retail Consortium reported a 28% increase in offences involving abuse or violence against shopworkers.

“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.

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 1,642 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 1 and 2 February 2016. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).

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