'Report it to sort it' - more than half of attacks on shopworkers go unreported says Usdaw survey

Date: 14 November 2017 Shopworkers’ trade union leader John Hannett is urging retail staff not to suffer in silence as the latest survey by Usdaw shows that 56% of those who experienced violence, threats or abuse at work did not report the incident to their employer. Worryingly 22% of shopworkers who were physically attacked did not report the assault.

This week is Usdaw’s annual Respect for Shopworkers Week, 13 - 19 November, which was launched with shocking statistics revealing a big jump in incidents of violence threats and abuse against shopworkers, with abuse and assaults up by 25% and threats increased by 38%.

John Hannett – Usdaw General Secretary says: “All too often shopworkers encounter violence, threats and abuse for simply doing their job. So it is very concerning that one in five do not report something as serious as a violent attack to their employer.

“We are told that sometimes staff don’t feel it would make any difference if they do report incidents or that it’s just a part of being in a frontline job, dealing with the public and the problems that sometimes throws up.

“My message to shopworkers is very clear, abuse is not a part of the job. We are talking to employers to ensure that reporting systems are easily accessible and will make a real difference to the protection. However it is really important that staff do tell their manager when they experience violence, threats or abuse. If they report it we can help sort it.

“This week our campaign events will highlight to shoppers the problems shopworkers can face, particularly during the festive season, a period when incidents of verbal abuse can increase dramatically. In the run up to Christmas, customers are stressed, stores are really busy and sometimes things can boil over. That's why we are asking shoppers to show respect for shopworkers and to 'keep your cool at Christmas'. 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 takes 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. 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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The official website of the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers