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Scotland's shopworkers need action not warm words and sympathy says Usdaw

Date: 23 December 2010 The shopworkers Union Usdaw has denounced the decision of the Scottish Parliament to vote down the Protection of Workers (Scotland) Bill and launched a scathing attack on the SNP Government's failure to support progress of the Bill.

The Bill, which was being steered through the Scottish Parliament by Labour MSP Hugh Henry, would have given shopworkers and other public facing staff the same level of protection given to emergency workers who are assaulted while doing their jobs.

MSPs voted by a margin of 75 to 42 against allowing further discussion on the Bill, despite a Parliamentary Committee acknowledging that action was urgently needed to address violence against public facing workers.

John Hannett, Usdaw General Secretary said:

"Scotland's shopworkers have been very badly let down by the SNP. They legislated to put shopworkers on the frontline of preventing under-age sales, yet have now blocked any further discussion about protecting those same shopworkers from the violence and abuse they face when doing their jobs."

"Scotland's shopworkers needed action from the SNP Government and instead all they received were warm words and sympathy. That isn't going to stop or deter the thug that attacks one of our members for refusing to sell them alcohol later tonight."

Lawrence Wason, Usdaw Scottish Divisional Officer said:

"Our members will be dismayed by the failure of SNP MSPs and others to support them. To suggest workplace violence is an issue not worthy of further time and discussion in Parliament is quite frankly disgraceful."

"However, we were extremely pleased and encouraged to hear that Labour Leader Iain Gray has committed to legislating on this issue should Labour win next year's election. It won't be lost on our members or other public facing staff, which political party really takes violence against workers seriously."

Notes for Editors:

  1. For further information on the Protection of Workers (Scotland) Bill visit: http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/s3/bills/47-ProtectWorkers/index.htm
  2. For further information on Usdaw's Freedom From Fear campaign visit: http://www.usdaw.org.uk/ourcampaigns/freedomfromfear.aspx
  3. Usdaw (the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers) is the UK's fourth biggest Trade Union, with over 395,000 members. Usdaw is the country's fastest growing Trade Union; membership has increased by more than 15% in the last four years and by over a quarter in the last decade. Most Usdaw members work in the retail sector, but the Union also has many members in transport, distribution, food manufacturing, chemicals and other trades.

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