The report of the experiences of 1,844
shopworkers from across the UK confirms a worrying trend of retail
staff suffering attacks and not reporting the incidents.
The survey shows a welcome decrease
in the number of victims of verbal abuse, which is
down to just under half of shopworkers from 61% in 2012.
Threats have come down from 36% to 34% but violent attacks have
remained static at 4%, with one in six not reporting the assault.
Over the last 10 years Usdaw has been working with employers on its
Freedom From Fear campaign and figures reported annually in the
British Retail Consortium Crime Survey have shown a steady
improvement, but the survey confirms a high number of incidents go
John Hannett – Usdaw General Secretary
says: "For the last six years, Usdaw has surveyed
shopworkers to collect information on the extent of violence and
abuse they experience and to gauge their attitude towards the
problem. Because of concerns about under-reporting this year, for
the first time, we asked our members whether they reported what had
happened to them.
"I was shocked to learn that 17% of
shopworkers who were physically assaulted in the workplace did not
report the incident, along with a third of those threatened and
almost half of those who were verbally abused.
"This level of under-reporting of incidents is
of great concern and my message to shopworkers is very clear, abuse
is not a part of the job. We are encouraging our members to report
all incidents of violence, threats and abuse to their managers and
help get the issue tackled.
"At the heart of the Freedom From Fear
Campaign is joint working with employers to make the workplace
safer. Our message to shopworkers is: We can sort it - if you
report it. We will be working with employers to make it easier for
staff to report incidents and to ensure that action is taken to
prevent violence threats and abuse."
Notes for editors:
Usdaw (Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied
Workers) is the UK's fourth biggest and fastest growing Trade Union
with over 431,000 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.
Usdaw's Freedom From Fear Survey Report 2013,
the interim results of shopworkers experiences over the last year,
from the first 1,844 responses, are:
- Victims of verbal abuse: 49%
- Shopworkers threatened: 34%
Of these incidents the following didn't report
it to their manager:
- Violence 17%
Respect for Shopworker Week
2013 takes place on 11 – 15 November. It is an annual
event where shopworkers talk to the public about the problems of
violence threats and abuse, asking customers to 'keep their cool'.
Part of the campaign will be encouraging shopworker not to take
abuse as part of the job and report incidents to their manager.
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