The amendment, tabled by David Hanson MP, provides legal protection for shopworkers enforcing the ban on selling corrosive substances and knives to under 18s. It is supported by the Co-op Group, the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and the Association of Convenience Stores (ACS), all seeking Government action to tackle the growing problems of violence, threats and abuse against shopworkers. Usdaw’s survey shows that there are over 260 violent attacks against shopworkers every day.
A Populus poll commissioned by the Co-operative Party showed that 85% of voters agree that: “The government owes a duty of care to shopworkers who enforce important laws restricting the sale of certain items like alcohol, acid and knives.” They also believe that the best way to deliver this is with: “A tough new law to increase criminal sentences for anyone convicted of using threats or violence against a shopworker.”
Paddy Lillis – Usdaw General Secretary says:
“When retail employers, the shopping public and the shopworkers’ trade union agree on a measure to protect staff, we hope that MPs will take notice and support the amendment today.
“Shopworkers will play a vital role policing this new law, as they already do on the sale of alcohol and other age-restricted products. Yet they are offered no additional protection under the law and shopworkers can be treated like criminals if a mistake is made at the point of sale.
“This is a much needed Bill that deserves support and we very much welcome it. We have all been appalled by the increase in assaults and deaths when acid and knives were used as offensive weapons. It is absolutely right that we do everything possible to stem the scourge of knife crime and acid attacks.
“Shopworkers are on the frontline of achieving that and helping to keep our communities safe. Their role should be valued, they deserve our respect, but most of all they deserve the protection of the law.”
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.
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%.
For Usdaw press releases visit: http://www.usdaw.org.uk/news
and you can follow us on Twitter @UsdawUnion