Usdaw’s latest survey results show that two-thirds of shopworkers were verbally abused last year, 42% were threatened and there were over 265 assaults every day. This represents a 25% increase in abuse and assaults and threats are up by 38%.
Usdaw is now urging MPs to vote for an amendment to the Offensive Weapons Bill, which is due to be debated on Monday 15 October. New Clause One will make it a specific offence to obstruct a shopworker in their duty to enforce the law on the sale of offensive weapons.
Paddy Lillis – Usdaw General Secretary says:
“Abuse, threats and violence against shopworkers is a growing problem and a day-to-day reality for far too many workers employed in shops, supermarkets and convenience stores across the UK. We are grateful to Alex Norris MP for raising the issues our members face on a daily basis.
“What is clear, from talking to, consulting with and surveying our members is that abuse and violence against shopworkers is on the rise. Usdaw’s annual survey of shopworkers shows a 25 per cent increase in violence. The British Retail Consortium reported a doubling of violence in their annual retail Crime Survey.
“There is an epidemic of abuse and violence against the people who serve us in the shops. Shopworkers are members of our communities, they are our brothers and sisters, our sons and daughters, our next door neighbours. They deserve better. They deserve to be treated with respect. They deserve to be protected from violence.
“Usdaw is bringing the everyday accounts of shopworkers who experience abuse, threats and violence to the attention of MPs and policymakers. We need the Government to listen and we need action. We need a specific offence introduced for assaulting a shopworker who is simply enforcing the legal rules and regulations. Even in this age of austerity, it is unacceptable for police forces to be asking shopworkers to detain thieves.
“We support the restrictions on the sale of offensive weapons, some communities are being terrorised by knife crime and acid attacks, but we want the Offensive Weapons Bill to be amended to include additional measures to protect 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 around 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.
For Usdaw press releases visit: http://www.usdaw.org.uk/news
and you can follow us on Twitter @UsdawUnion