Paddy Lillis – Usdaw General Secretary says:
“The run-up to Christmas is always a really busy time when stores are busy, shoppers can be stressed and things can boil over. We are concerned that after a four-week lockdown there could be crowds and chaos on our high streets, with people rushing back to shops that still have necessary Covid safety measures in place and that can result in abuse of shopworkers, or worse.
“During this appalling pandemic we have been shocked to find that incidents of violence, threats and abuse against shopworkers have doubled, with the main flashpoints being enforcing Covid rules, queueing and shortage of stock. None of these are the fault of shopworkers, but they too often end up on the wrong side of customers frustrations.
“The reopening of non-essential stores ahead of Christmas offers a lifeline for many retailers, who would have struggled if they could not trade in December, traditionally the busiest month of the year. Our members are looking forward to welcoming back customers. We urge shoppers to avoid the first few days to help avoid overcrowding, follow the rules, be patient, but most of all ‘keep your cool’ and respect shopworkers.”
Notes for editors:
Usdaw (Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers)
is the UK's fifth biggest trade union with over 400,000 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 2020 survey
, based on 2,317 responses, show that in 2020 so far: 85.49% were verbally abused, 56.87% were threatened. 16.27% shopworkers had been assaulted during their career. 8.59% had been assaulted this year. The final results of the survey will be published in the New Year. Responses to the question - In your experience during the coronavirus emergency are incidents of work related violence and abuse…much worse 39.63%, worse 36.41%, the same 17.24%, not as bad 4.42%, much fewer 2.3%.
Usdaw’s Freedom from Fear Campaign
seeks to prevent violence, threats and abuse against workers by engaging the public, shopworkers and the Government. www.usdaw.org.uk/Campaigns/Freedom-From-Fear
For Usdaw press releases visit: http://www.usdaw.org.uk/news
and you can follow us on Twitter @UsdawUnion