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Usdaw welcomes support for a new law to protect Scottish shop workers from violence and abuse

Date: 18 September 2020 Retail trade union Usdaw has welcomed the support of MSPs across the parties and the Scottish Government for a new law to protect shop workers from abuse, ahead of the stage one debate in the Scottish Parliament on Thursday 24 September 2020. Usdaw calls on MSPs to back the bill and for the Scottish Government to help it through the remaining stages before next year’s general election.
The Protection of Workers (Retail and Age-restricted Goods and Services) (Scotland) Bill is promoted by Daniel Johnson MSP (Labour, Edinburgh Southern) and the Scottish Parliament’s Economy, Energy and Fair Work Committee unanimously passed it to the next stage on 30 June.
Stewart Forrest – Usdaw’s Scottish Divisional Officer says: “We welcome MSPs and the Scottish Government recognising that retail workers are subject to unacceptable violence, threats and aggression every working day. Also 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.
“In particular, we need to recognise the work that Daniel Johnson MSP has done on behalf of our members and retail workers across Scotland by introducing this Bill and driving it forwards.
“Throughout the coronavirus emergency shop workers are ensuring that Scotland remains fed. Retail staff 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 shop workers is a problem in more normal times and, in our view, the current legal provisions do not sufficiently protect them. The Scottish Government’s support for the intentions of the Bill is welcome and we hope they will assist in securing a change in the law to better protect shopworkers before next year’s election.”
Paddy Lillis – Usdaw General Secretary says: “We hope the Scottish Parliament will lead the way on protection of shopworkers by passing 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

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The official website of the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers