Stewart Forrest – Usdaw’s Scottish Divisional Officer says:
“We thank the all-party committee for their diligence, unanimous approval of the general principles of the Bill and recognition that retail workers are subject to unacceptable violence, threats and aggression every working day. Also their understanding that age-restricted sales is a major flashpoint, where shopworkers are at risk because they enforce the law to help keep our communities safe.
“Throughout the coronavirus emergency shopworkers are ensuring that Scotland remains fed. Shopworkers are at an increased risk of contracting Covid-19, yet they have continued to go to work and help respond to the crisis. Despite this, we have seen abuse, threats and violence against shop staff double this year.
“However abuse of shopworkers is a problem in more normal times and, in our view, the current legal provisions do not sufficiently protect them. The Scottish Government has indicated they too support the intentions of the Bill and will engage in the details of it. We hope that will lead to a change in the law to better protect shopworkers.”
Paddy Lillis – Usdaw General Secretary says:
“This is very welcome news and we hope it will result in the Scottish Parliament leading the way on protection of shopworkers, as they did with emergency service workers, and pass this Bill.
“At a time when we should all be working together to get through this crisis, it is a disgrace that people working to keep food on the shelves are being abused and assaulted. Action is required. Our message is clear, abuse is not part of the job.
“Retail staff are key workers delivering essential services and that role must be valued and respected, they deserve the protection of the law. Shops are the cornerstone of our communities and we continue to work with the employers to improve health and safety for staff. We also call on customers to stay calm 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.
Economy, Energy and Fair Work Committee
- Stage 1 Report on the Protection of Workers (Retail and Age-restricted Goods and Services) (Scotland) Bill: https://www.parliament.scot/newsandmediacentre/115488.aspx
Protection of Workers (Retail and Age-restricted Goods and Services) (Scotland) Bill: https://www.parliament.scot/parliamentarybusiness/Bills/107499.aspx
For Usdaw press releases visit: http://www.usdaw.org.uk/news
and you can follow us on Twitter @UsdawUnion