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#ShopKind Week: Usdaw joins the call for respect for shopworkers struggling in a retail crime epidemic

Date: 07 May 2024 Retail trade union Usdaw has welcomed today’s launch of the national #ShopKind Week, which encourages shoppers to treat staff with respect. UK-wide polling highlights that 31% of customers are more anxious when they shop and 36% have witnessed violence and abuse towards shopworkers while shopping.
The #ShopKind campaign is backed by the Home Office and supported by over 100 leading high street retailers, the nation’s shopkeepers and Usdaw. It aims to remind customers about the importance of being considerate to shopworkers and each other.
Usdaw’s own annual survey of over 5,500 retail staff shows that 18% of shopworkers suffered a violent attack last year, compared to 8% in 2022. The increase in assaults comes during an epidemic of retail crime with official statistics and reports from retailers showing significant increases in theft from shops. The survey also found the number of incidents has come down since the exceptionally high levels during the pandemic, but remains higher than pre-Covid levels in 2019. In the last 12 months (pre-pandemic levels in brackets, from the 2019 survey):
  • 70% (68%) have experienced verbal abuse.
  • 46% (43%) were threatened by a customer.
  • 18% (5%) were assaulted.
Full report: www.usdaw.org.uk/FFFReport2023
This week (6-8 May) retailers are reminding customers to #ShopKind in stores and acknowledge the important role of shopworkers to communities. The #ShopKind campaign urges the public to be mindful of shopworkers’ essential role serving the public and emphasises that workers should be treated with respect, kindness and gratitude.
Paddy Lillis - Usdaw General Secretary says: “Usdaw very much welcomes the ShopKind campaign, which brings together voices from across the retail sector, politicians and the police to promote a message of respect for shopworkers. Usdaw’s own annual survey found that 7 in 10 of our members working in retail suffered verbal abuse last year, with far too many being threatened or assaulted.
“These are key workers delivering essential services in every community and we stand together to say that abuse should not be a part of their job. We need better co-ordination to ensure that retail employers, police and the courts work together to make stores safer and give staff the support and confidence they need to report incidents. This week of action is a great step towards that aim.”
Notes for editors:
Usdaw (Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers) is one of the fastest growing unions in the TUC and the UK's fifth biggest trade union with around 360,000 members. Most Usdaw members work in the retail sector, but the union also has many members in transport, distribution, food manufacturing, chemical industry and other trades www.usdaw.org.uk
Usdaw’s Freedom from Fear Campaign seeks to prevent violence, threats and abuse against workers by engaging the public, shopworkers and the Government. www.usdaw.org.uk/Campaigns/Freedom-From-Fear
#Shopkind https://nbcc.police.uk/business-support/shopkind/shopkind-webpage
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