Usdaw calls on MPs to back the Protection of Workers Bill
Date: 1 February 2013
A private members' bill, promoted by Graeme Morrice MP, will create an additional penalty for those who assault workers in the course of their duties. The bill is due a second reading today in Parliament.
Usdaw is making the call for support on the back of its annual
survey that shows high levels of violence threats and abuse in
2012. The survey of almost 2,000 shopworkers shows that in the last
- 61% were verbally abused.
- 36% had been threatened.
- 4% suffered a physical assault.
Overall these figures are a slight decrease on past surveys,
which follows the trend of the British Retail Consortium's Annual
Retail Crime Survey released last week. However, the levels of
violence, threats and abuse are much higher than reported by the
John Hannett said: "The BRC rightly raised the problem of
under-reporting in their report and we share that concern. All too
often shopworkers don't report to their manager when they have been
verbally abused, threatened and in many cases even assaulted, which
is why our survey shows much higher levels of incidents.
"Also all too often shopworkers think that violence, threats and
abuse are just a part of the job and we want to work with retail
companies to encourage employees not to suffer in silence. It is
only when we know the true extent of the problem that action will
"While I am pleased to see the number of incidents falling,
there are still far too many attacks on shopworkers who are simply
doing their job. Our survey suggests that there were over 100,000
assaults against shopworkers last year, which is a frightening
statistic. We want MPs to remember that when considering the
Protection of Workers Bill today.
"This is an important Bill that will send out a message to those
who assault shopworkers. We saw the number of incidents against
fire and ambulance crews fall significantly after the introduction
of the Emergency Service Workers Bill. We want to see those
protections extended to all public facing workers to help reduce
the number of violent incidents they are subjected to, simply for
doing their job and providing a public service.
"So Usdaw is calling on MPs to support the Bill and on the
Government to give it some parliamentary time to help it onto the
Notes for editors:
- Usdaw (the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers) is
the UK's fourth biggest and fastest growing trade union with over
424,000 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.