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We all love a Black Friday bargain, but please respect shopworkers

Date: 24 November 2016 Shopworkers’ trade union leader John Hannett has called for a calm and orderly Black Friday (25 November 2016) as millions of shoppers are set to take advantage of what is now described as the biggest discounting day of the retail year.

Problems with Black Friday started in 2013 and continued in 2014. So Usdaw conducted a survey of shopworkers which showed that the 2014 Black Friday sales resulted in a two-thirds increase in incidents of verbal abuse, threats and violence against retail staff.  Usdaw used this evidence to pursue the concerns of our members with employers and work with them to take action to minimise abuse and thankfully last year was a much quieter and respectful day.

John Hannett – Usdaw General Secretary says: "Our members have real concerns about Black Friday. After two years of unprecedented scenes of mayhem in some stores, as bargain hunting turns into a frenzy, we discussed safety issues with retailers. They responded positively by organising their events to maximise safety and security for staff and customers alike. Consequently last year was a vast improvement on previous years.

“Incidents of violence, threats and abuse against shopworkers are already worryingly high, interim figures from this year’s survey suggest that nearly half of shopworkers were verbally abused last year and a quarter were threatened. Almost 10% of shopworkers have been assaulted and worryingly nearly a third of them don’t report the incident.

“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 435,000 members. Membership has increased by more than 10% 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 the Usdaw’s survey, based on 2,250 responses, show that over the last 12 months 44% were verbally abused and 25% were threatened. 8.4% have been assaulted, with 32% not reporting the incident.

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