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

Date: 23 November 2017 Shopworkers’ trade union leader John Hannett has called for a calm and orderly Black Friday (24 November 2017) 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. Usdaw’s survey of shopworkers after the 2014 Black Friday sales revealed a two-thirds increase in incidents of verbal abuse, threats and violence against retail staff.  So Usdaw has worked with employers to minimise abuse.

John Hannett – Usdaw General Secretary says: "Our members have had real concerns about Black Friday. After two years of unprecedented scenes of mayhem in some stores, as bargain hunting turned into 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 the last couple of years have been quieter and more respectful, but we continue to monitor the situation.

“Violence, threats and abuse against shopworkers are already worryingly high, interim figures from this year’s survey suggest there’s been a big jump in incidents. Verbal abuse and assault are up by 25% and threats have increased by 38%. The British Retail Consortium also reported, earlier this year, a 40% increase in abuse of 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. 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 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.

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

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