Last week’s annual Respect for Shopworkers Week was launched with shocking survey statistics revealing a big jump in incidents of violence threats and abuse against shopworkers. The survey also revealed that 1 in 5 retail staff who have been assaulted don’t report it and 80% of shopworkers think a new law to stiffen penalties for those who assault them is needed.
John Hannett – Usdaw General Secretary says: “I want to congratulate our reps and activists for all the work they’ve done to make Respect for Shopworkers Week the best yet. While this is one week in the year to raise awareness with the public, Usdaw’s Freedom from Fear is an all year round campaign to prevent violence, threats and abuse against shopworkers. So we will continue to talk to employers, work with the police and represent our members to make shops safer for staff and customers.
“With the interim results of our annual survey showing that incidents have significantly increased this year, it is entirely reasonable that shopworkers continue to ask the Government for greater protection. Very worryingly our survey also found that 1 in 5 shopworkers who had been assaulted didn’t report the incident to their employer. I urge shopworkers not suffer in silence, abuse is not a part of the job and if they report it we can help to sort it.
“The clear message from Respect for Shopworkers Week is that the Government needs to do more by properly funding the police and legislating for stiffer sentences for the thugs that assault shopworkers. Around 265 retail staff are violently attacked every day, with many more threatened and verbally abused, so it is time to say enough is enough.”
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. 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.
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