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Usdaw calls for respect for shopworkers in the run-up to Christmas and throughout the festive period

Date: 19 December 2017 Shopworkers’ trade union leader John Hannett has urged shoppers to keep calm and show respect for retail staff when Christmas shopping and throughout the festive period, particularly in the post-Christmas sales.

John Hannett – Usdaw General Secretary says: “Incidents of violence, threats and abuse against shopworkers are already worryingly high, with nearly two-thirds of shopworkers verbally abused last year and over 40% threatened. Our survey suggests that around 265 shopworkers are assaulted every day in the course of their duties.

“Usdaw members tell us that incidents of abuse always increase over the festive period, particularly when there are sales events and there are issues to be dealt with like unwanted presents being returned. When shops are busier, customers can be stressed and sometimes things boil over. Abuse is not a part of the job for shopworkers, they have a crucial role in our communities and that role must be valued and respected.”

“My message to shoppers is clear. Enjoy your shopping experience, but please 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 2017 survey, based on 1,455 responses, show that over the last 12 months: 62.34% were verbally abused (an increase of 25%), 40.49% were threatened (an increase of 38%) and 3.23% were assaulted (an increase of 25%), which equals 265 per day. 56.11% had not reported an incident of abuse and 21.79% of shopworkers physically attacked did not report the assault. 79.91% say there needs to be a change in the law to provide better protection for shopworkers. The final results of the 2017 survey will be published in the New Year.

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

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