Safety of workers, customers and community must remain number one priority says Usdaw

Date: 10 August 2011 The shopworkers Union Usdaw has condemned the rioting and looting of the past four nights and has called on the police and employers to ensure that the safety of shopworkers, customers and local residents remains their number one priority.

The Union has been in close contact with employers at a national and local level since the disturbances began and has advised hundreds of members who have either been directly affected by the riots or who fear their store might be the next to be targeted.

Usdaw has asked employers to review their security measures and has reminded members that they should never put themselves in physical danger to prevent shoplifting, looting or damage to property.

The Union has also called on retailers to seriously consider closing stores early if there is any threat or possibility of trouble and has urged all employers to continue to pay workers their contracted hours, even when they have been unable to open because of damage or as a precaution. Usdaw has also asked employers to take the same approach with workers who have faced problems getting to and from work because of traffic delays and disruption to public transport.

John Hannett, Usdaw General Secretary said:

"Usdaw unequivocally condemns the rioting and looting that has brought havoc and fear to many of our towns, cities and communities since the weekend. What we are now seeing is nothing more than so called 'recreational looting' and there is and can be no excuse for it."

"These looters are destroying homes, jobs and livelihoods and tragically it now appears some people may even have lost their lives as a result of the disorder."

"Shops are at the heart of our communities and I applaud the special efforts many of our members and other workers have made to ensure stores remain open for the local community. However, the safety of shopworkers, customers and local residents must remain the number one priority and the police and both employers and employees must make every effort to ensure any risk to personal safety is minimised at all times."

Notes for Editors:

  1. Usdaw (the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers) is the UK's fourth biggest and fastest growing trade union with over 405,000 members. Membership has increased by more than 17% in the last five years and by nearly a third 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