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Legislation to protect shopworkers from rising levels of violence and abuse to be heard in Parliament - Usdaw calls for Government support

Date: 16 March 2020 Shopworkers’ trade union Usdaw is calling on the Government to support legislation set to be put before the House of Commons today (Monday 16 March), which calls for shopworkers to be protected from rising levels of violence, abuse and assaults.
Alex Norris MP (Labour/Co-op, Nottingham North) puts forward the bill as recent new data shows violence and abuse against shopworkers is at record levels. This month the British Retail Consortium annual Retail Crime Survey highlights the impact of violence and abuse on the lives of shop workers, and reveals a 9% increase - with 424 incidents reported each day. The Association of Convenience Stores last week published their annual crime survey ‘Evidence for Action’ showing that over 50,000 convenience store workers were assaulted last year, with 25% of incidents resulting in injury.
Alex Norris MP says: “I am shocked at the level of abuse and violence shop workers face every day, and I see it in my own constituency, where at my local Co-op a staff member was hit by a glass bottle. My Bill calls for retail workers to be given extra protection for two reasons.
“Firstly, as a point of principle, if we give shopworkers responsibilities to uphold the law on sales of a range of products which Parliament has determined can only be sold to people above a certain age, then shopworkers should be afforded protection in carrying out those public duties.
“Secondly, the bill appeals for a reset in society. With a very clear message sent that it is not part of the job for shopworkers to suffer abuse and violence and Parliament establishing a new expectation by legislating for what is acceptable and the police given the resources to implement this new legislation.”
Paddy Lillis - Usdaw General Secretary says: “Life on the shopfloor can be tough for many shopworkers and there is still a lot to do to 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. 
“It is high time for the Government to act by providing proper penalties for those who assault workers; a simple stand-alone law that is widely recognised and understood by the public, police, CPS, the judiciary and, most importantly, criminals. So we very much welcome this measure proposed by Alex Norris MP.”

Jo Whitfield - Co-op Food CEO says: “Shop workers deserve to go to work every day safe in the knowledge that they will not be attacked or made to feel unsafe - as a community-based organisation we see the impact of social issues in our stores, the level of violence and abuse is unprecedented and cannot go on.
“We know that violence and crime is about much more than statistics. It has a real impact on people’s lives. Our industry, unions, politicians and law enforcers must all work together, doing everything in our power to prevent these unacceptable attacks.
“Despite more than 600 of my colleagues bravely taking the time to share their own experiences of abuse, violence and intimidation with the Home Office, we have had no response. Government, along with law enforcement, must accelerate action to help develop a strategy which can address the root causes of crime in our communities and tackle this intensifying social issue.”
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.
It’s not part of the job: violence and abuse towards shop workers: Last September Co-op funded research into retail crime, with the hard hitting findings published in a report penned by Dr Emmeline Taylor, Director of Research, Department of Sociology at City, University of London, which highlighted that shop workers were showing the signs of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
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