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Crimestoppers Scotland joint campaign to stop abuse of shopworkers welcomed by Usdaw

Date: 24 February 2021 Retail trade union Usdaw has welcomed today’s launch of a joint campaign by Crimestoppers Scotland to raise awareness and stop abuse of shopworkers. The key message is to ‘speak up 100% anonymously about attacks on shopworkers’.
The independent charity Crimestoppers Scotland joint campaign comes following the passing of the Protection of Workers (Scotland) Bill, which was successfully steered through the Scottish Parliament by Daniel Johnson MSP (Labour, Edinburgh Southern). The campaign is supported by Usdaw, the Scottish Grocers’ Federation and the Scottish Government.
Usdaw’s 2020 survey of 2,729 shopworkers across the UK found that:
  • 88% experienced verbal abuse
  • 61% were threatened by a customer
  • 9% were assaulted. 
Stewart Forrest – Usdaw’s Scottish Divisional Officer says: “Retail staff have been on the frontline throughout the coronavirus crisis, helping to keep our communities fed, despite the risks of contracting the virus. We owe them a debt of gratitude and abuse should never be a part of their job.
“The final results of our 2020 survey show that 9 in 10 shopworkers had been abused last year. So we very much welcomed the ground-breaking legislation to protect shopworkers from violence, threats and abuse, passed by the Scottish Parliament last month. Usdaw has campaigned for many years to secure these legal protections.
“Crucial to the new law having the desired impact is criminals understanding that assaulting and abusing shopworkers is totally unacceptable. So we welcome the opportunity to work with Crimestoppers Scotland, the Scottish Government, police and retailers to promote that message. Our hope is that this new legislation will result in retail staff getting the protection and respect they deserve.”
Angela Parker of Crimestoppers says: “Everyone has the right to feel safe. Violence and aggression towards shop staff can often leave people traumatised with vital, local shops at risk of closing. We would encourage communities to speak up to our charity 100 % anonymously if they know or suspect who is responsible.
“Please help us to help you by telling us, completely anonymously, what you know. You can talk to us by calling our UK Contact Centre which is open 24/7 on freephone 0800 555 111 or you can use our easy and secure anonymous online form at crimestoppers-uk.org.”
Voices from the frontline: Some of the comments Scottish shopworkers shared when responding to Usdaw’s survey:
  • “Shouting, being dismissed, being spoken down to. Treated like scum.”
  • “We deal with everything - threatened to be stabbed after work, family threatened, grabbed by the neck and pushed against the wall.”
  • “Pandemic has brought out the worst behaviour in many people. Verbal abuse for limiting items during lockdown, making people queue and most for mask wearing.”
  • “Varies from comments such as stupid bitch, jobsworth, being told to f*** off or shut up.”
  • “Always about alcohol. The refusal to sell to an intoxicated person or when asking for age identification.” 
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.
Crimestoppers is an independent charity helping communities to ‘Speak up. Stay safe.’ Their 0800 555 111 telephone number and website crimestoppers-uk.org gives people the power to speak up and pass on information about crime 100% anonymously. In over 32 years, we have always kept this promise.
Protection of Workers (Retail and Age-restricted Goods and Services) (Scotland) Bill:
For Usdaw press releases visit: http://www.usdaw.org.uk/news and you can follow us on Twitter @UsdawUnion

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