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Respect for Shopworkers Week is over - Usdaw's Freedom from Fear Campaign continues

Date: 19 November 2018 Shopworkers’ trade union leader Paddy Lillis has thanked Usdaw activists who ran over 1,000 events across the UK to raise awareness of the violence, threats and abuse that retail staff face all too often.
Last week’s annual Respect for Shopworkers Week was launched with shocking survey statistics revealing a 40% increase in incidents of violence against shopworkers since 2016, with threats and abuse also up significantly. Worryingly the survey revealed that 1 in 6 retail staff who have been assaulted don’t report it.
 
Paddy Lillis – 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 are on the increase, it is time for the Government to act by providing stiffer penalties for those who assault workers; a simple stand-alone offence that is widely recognised and understood by the public, police, CPS, the judiciary and most importantly criminals. The Government could act immediately by accepting a protection of shopworkers amendment to their Offensive Weapons Bill, which will make it a specific offence
to obstruct a shopworker who is preventing the illegal purchase of knives and corrosive substances.
 
“Very worryingly our survey also found that 1 in 6 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. Over 230 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 17% 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.
 
Respect for Shopworkers Week 2018 took place on 12-18 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’. The campaign  encourages shopworkers not to take abuse as part of the job and report incidents to their manager.
 
Interim results of the Usdaw’s 2018 survey, based on 3,561 responses, show that in 2018 so far: 59.65% were verbally abused, 36.93% were threatened. 11.36% of shopworkers had been assaulted during their career, with 230 assaults per day during 2018. 58.80% of those who have been attacked or abused have never reported an incident. 16.88% who have been assaulted did not report it. The main reasons not to report incidents are: Won't make a difference 35.07%; don't know the procedure 9.18%; procedure too complicated 4.52%. The final results of the 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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