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Usdaw petition tops 80K after a Respect for Shopworkers Week boost

Date: 23 November 2020 A parliamentary petition that seeks to protect retail staff from violence, threats and abuse has passed 80,000 signatures following the annual Respect for Shopworkers Week. Usdaw continues to campaign for 100,000 signatures that should trigger a parliamentary debate.
The petition is backed by 23 major retailers and the industry’s leading trade bodies, with research by the Co-op showing its aims have public support as well. Launched by shopworkers’ trade union leader Paddy Lillis, it can be signed at https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/328621
 
Paddy Lillis – Usdaw General Secretary says: “Respect for Shopworkers Week is our opportunity to publicise Usdaw’s year round Freedom From Fear campaign, which seeks to prevent violence, threats and abuse against shopworkers. I am grateful to our reps and activists who added over 10,000 signatures to the petition during the week. This is a hugely important issue for our members. With incidents of abuse doubling during the Covid-19 crisis, they are saying loud and clear that enough is enough, abuse should never be just a part of the job.
 
“We welcome employer support for the petition and it is clear that the public are also on board, with a Co-op survey finding that over 80% say abuse of shopworkers is unacceptable and want greater sentencing for offenders. When the shopping public, retailers and the trade union for shopworkers unite in a call for action, it should be time for the Government to sit up, listen to our concerns and deliver much needed protection for staff.
 
“We were deeply disappointed by the Government’s response to the petition, offering little more than sympathy, and they objected to the Alex Norris protection of shopworkers bill in the House of Commons. So we continue to campaign for the 100,000 signatures needed to trigger a parliamentary debate. Retail staff have a crucial role in our communities and that role must be valued and respected, they deserve the protection of the law.”
 
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.
 
Assaults on Retail Workers (Offences) Bill promoted by Alex Norris MP (Labour/Co-op, Nottingham North) was timetabled for its second reading in the House of Commons, but the Government objected to it progressing and is now delayed until Friday 8 January. https://bills.parliament.uk/bills/2725
 
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%.
 
Co-op respect for shopworkers survey: https://www.co-operative.coop/media/news-releases/respect-for-shopworkers-one-in-five-customers-admit-to-showing-aggression
 
23 retailers and industry bodies urge PM to act on violence and abuse against shopworkers: ACS, Aldi, Asda, BIRA, Boots, BRC, Central England Co-op, Co-op, Dixons Carphone, Homebase, Lidl GB, Marks and Spencer, Mid Counties Co-operative, McColl’s, Morrisons, Nationwide, NISA, NFRN, Sainsbury’s, Southern Co-op, Street Works UK, Tesco and WH Smith https://www.co-operative.coop/media/news-releases/leading-retail-ceos-and-industry-bodies-urge-pm-to-act-on-violence-and-abuse
 
Respect for Shopworkers Week 2020 took place on 16-22 November. It is an annual event where shopworkers ask the public to ‘keep their cool’. Part of the campaign will be encouraging shopworkers not to take abuse as part of the job and report incidents to their manager. www.usdaw.org.uk/Campaigns/Freedom-From-Fear/Campaign-Materials
 
For Usdaw press releases visit: http://www.usdaw.org.uk/news and you can follow us on Twitter @UsdawUnion

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