Speaking today Hardyal Dhindsa
said: “In recent weeks shopworkers have been subjected to both verbal and physical abuse simply for complying with government guidance. This is unacceptable. Without these brave people continuing to work we would all have been in a very difficult situation.
“Abuse, in any form, is never appropriate, and no-one should be victim to this type of behaviour simply for doing their job. I urge people to come forward and report incidents of this kind to the police. They will take it seriously I assure everyone.
“Personally, I would like to thank all those who have carried on going to work during the pandemic. They are unsung heroes and fully deserve our respect and gratitude for keeping people stocked with essential items such as food, medical necessities and household products.”
Gavin Dadley – Usdaw’s Midlands Divisional Officer says:
“Shopworkers are on the frontline of feeding our communities during the current crisis. They are providing an essential service in very difficult circumstances, working long hours in busy stores, facing abuse from customers and of course concerned they may contract Covid-19.
“Violence, threats and abuse against shopworkers are regrettably nothing new, but we were shocked to have found that incidents have doubled during the Coronavirus Emergency. It is a disgrace that people working to keep food on the shelves for their local communities are being abused and assaulted for simply doing their job.
“Our communities need shops and the staff must be kept safe so they can stay open. So we very much welcome that our PCC in Derbyshire recognises and supports the heroic efforts our members are making.
“Usdaw continues to work with employers to improve health and safety for staff, particularly those dealing directly with the public. We also call on customers to stay calm, respect shopworkers and practise the necessary hygiene measures to help limit the spread of the virus. We all have to work together to get through this crisis.”
Voices from the Derbyshire frontline:
Alfreton supermarket worker who faces abuse and threats every shift says: “I have worked here for 15 years and I used to love my job, but since Coronavirus my job has become hell. Customers were shouting and swearing at us and if they weren’t happy with what they were told, they threw their shopping at us.”
Burton-on-Trent shopworker who has suffered verbal abuse and an assault says: “I have been verbally abused at by customers, pushed by a customer and told to shut up and F-off when mentioning limitations or the one way system”
Derby Usdaw member who has been threatened and abused says: “They’ve become rude and nasty over having to queue longer, also some are rude over asking them to keep to the 2 metre distance.”
Ilkeston shopworker who suffers abuse and threats on every shift says: “We get sworn and shouted at throughout the day as people want to queue jump, enter stores in groups or not follow various other rules.”
Matlock retail worker who has been verbally abused and threatened says: “Customers unable to appreciate the need for restraint in the level of goods available. Not prepared to take into account other’s needs.”
Ripley supermarket worker who has suffered abuse says: “Customers being aggressive, making out staff are hiding stock out back.”
Swadlincote Usdaw member who has been verbally abused says: “Most of the customers have been fine occasionally you get 1 or 2 that have a bit of a go at you.”
Woodville retail worker who has suffered verbal abuse and has been threatened says: “Customers shouting because of social distancing and food limits.”
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.
Usdaw’s ‘Impact of Coronavirus’ survey
of 7,357 members took place online and looks at a 34 day period from 14 March. The full results of the survey are available at: www.usdaw.org.uk/CoronavirusReport
For Usdaw press releases visit: http://www.usdaw.org.uk/news
and you can follow us on Twitter @UsdawUnion