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Attacks on retail staff raised in Holyrood - Usdaw backs protection of workers legislation

Date: 22 March 2019 Shopworkers’ trade union Usdaw has welcomed Daniel Johnson MSP raising the significant increases in attacks on shopworkers during First Minister’s Question Time in the Scottish Parliament.
Daniel Johnson MSP - Edinburgh Southern, Labour said: “The First Minister will be aware that the British Retail Consortium annual crime survey was published today. It records that, last year, 115 shopworkers were physically attacked at work every single day across the United Kingdom. Usdaw estimates that the real problem could be much greater; its estimate is that 34 retail workers are attacked every day in Scotland alone.
 
“My bill to protect shopworkers is in the final stages of drafting. What does the First Minister think needs to be done to tackle this growing problem and will her Government work with me to look at what changes in the law may be needed to do so? Everyone has the right to be safe at work, whether they work in an office or on a shop floor.
 
Nicola Sturgeon MSP - First Minister responded: “I thank Daniel Johnson for raising the issue and the results of the British Retail Consortium’s survey. It is a powerful reminder that our shopworkers do an essential job that is often dangerous to them, for which we all owe them a huge debt of gratitude.
 
“We will be happy to work with Daniel Johnson and others to look at what further protections we need to put in place. He said that his bill is in the final stages of drafting; we will look carefully at it when it is published and we will be happy to consider it and discuss it with him. We will be happy to try to build consensus.”
 
Stewart Forrest – Usdaw Scottish Divisional Officer says: “The extent of violence, threats and abuse against shopworkers is shocking and requires urgent action. The SNP Government rejected the Protection of Workers Bill, promoted by now former MSP Hugh Henry, at stage one back in 2010. So we hope the First Minister’s warm words mean that the Scottish Government now take a different view and they will support Daniel Johnson’s much needed Bill.
 
“Attacks on shopworkers are increasing, so they deserve and desperately need the protection of the law. Retail staff have a crucial role in our communities and their role must be valued and respected.”
 
Paddy Lillis – Usdaw General Secretary says: “Life on the frontline of retail can be pretty tough for many shopworkers and there is still a lot to do to help protect them. We launched our Freedom From Fear Campaign in the face of growing concerns amongst retail staff about violence, threats and abuse. The campaign works with employers to promote respect and make shops safer for staff and customers alike.
 
“There also needs to be action from the Scottish Government to help protect staff by providing stiffer penalties for those who assault workers; a simple stand-alone offence that is widely recognised and understood by the public, police, the judiciary and most importantly criminals.”
 
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 420,000 members. Membership has increased by more than one-third over the last couple of decades. 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

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The official website of the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers