Interim results of Usdaw’s annual survey of shopworkers shows that verbal abuse and assaults over the last 12 months are up by 25% and threats have increased by 38%. This is in line with a British Retail Consortium survey, which earlier this year showed that abuse of shopworkers had increased by 40%.
John Hannett – Usdaw General Secretary said: “Many Welsh shopworkers are on the frontline of dealing with the public and that can mean they end up on the wrong side of a verbal or physical assault. Violence, threats and abuse against workers is one of the great scourges of our society. The statistics are shocking and show that urgent action is required, so we are looking for the support of Assembly Members for our campaign.
“All too often criminals who assault staff are not even sent to court, those who are can receive derisory sentences. In other cases, where the offender isn’t even charged, victims are left feeling that no one cares that they were assaulted. Our members want stiffer penalties for those who assault workers; a simple stand-alone offence that is widely recognised and understood by the public, police, the judiciary and most importantly criminals.”
“Last week Usdaw activists were campaigning on high streets, in shopping centres and stores; talking to the public and asking them to ‘keep their cool and respect shopworkers’. This is a particularly important message in the run up Christmas, when shops are busier, customers can be stressed and things can boil over. Abuse is not a part of the job of 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 fifth biggest and the fastest growing trade union with over 430,000 members. Membership has increased by more than 28% over the 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.
Respect for Shopworkers Week 2017 took place on 13-19 November. It is an annual event where shopworkers talk to the public about the problems of violence threats and abuse, asking customers to ‘keep their cool’. Part of the campaign will be encouraging shopworkers not to take abuse as part of the job and report incidents to their manager.
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: http://www.usdaw.org.uk/news and you can follow us on Twitter @UsdawUnion