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

Date: 29 November 2019 Shopworkers’ trade union leader Paddy Lillis has called for people to ‘keep their cool’ on Black Friday (29 November 2019) as millions of shoppers are set to take advantage of what is now described as the biggest discounting day of the retail year.
Usdaw is backing Labour’s manifesto commitment to ensure ‘that public-facing workers are protected by toughening the law against abuse and violence’; a measure that has also been called for by retail employer organisations.
 
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.
 
Paddy Lillis – 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 recent 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 Usdaw survey of over 4,000 shopworkers suggest there’s been a big jump in incidents, with violence against shopworkers up 25% since last year.
 
“Usdaw and retail employer organisations have been jointly calling on the Government for additional legal protections to prevent attacks on shopworkers and ensure that violent criminals are prosecuted. Unfortunately Conservative ministers have not yet responded to the evidence received in their own consultation, which was debated on the final sitting of Parliament. However, Usdaw is very pleased that Labour’s manifesto promises to legislate for shopworker protection.
 
“Around 400 retail staff are violently attacked every day, with many more threatened and verbally abused. It is time to say enough is enough and only Labour is pledged to deliver much needed protections.
 
“My Black Friday 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 410,000 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.
 
Interim results of the Usdaw’s 2019 survey, based on 4,691 responses, show that in 2019 so far: 65.01% were verbally abused, 41.00% were threatened. 11.68% shopworkers had been assaulted during their career. 4.75% had been assaulted this year, which amounts to 390 assaults per day across all shopworkers. The final results of the 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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