Usdaw calls on the Government to protect shopworkers in the face of increased shoplifting

Date: 24 April 2014 Shopworkers trade union leader John Hannett has welcomed today’s crime stats for England and Wales showing an overall decrease in crime, but is deeply concerned that shoplifting continues to rise, increasing by 6% during 2013.

John Hannett – Usdaw General Secretary says: ‘In the course of their duties shopworkers can be put in real danger, suffering violence, threats and abuse. So it is always a real concern to our members when incidents of shoplifting are on the increase, because too often that can result in the shopworkers being assaulted by the thief.

‘Every day over 300 shopworkers are assaulted, so there is a real need to address the scourge of violence against workers and I am concerned that the attackers are getting away with relatively lenient sentences.

‘On three occasions in the current parliamentary session the Government has been given the opportunity to support measures that would have provided greater protection for shopworkers and I was very disappointed to see Tories and Liberals combining to block these proposals.

‘We will continue to campaign for a change in the law to ensure that proper punishments are given out and to give a clear message that assaulting shopworkers is totally unacceptable.’

Notes for editors:

Usdaw (Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers) is the UK's fourth biggest and the fastest growing trade union with over 430,000 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.

The Crime Survey for England and Wales, produced by the Office for National Statistics, estimates that victim-based crime fell by 15% during 2013, but shoplifting increased by 6% http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/crime-stats/crime-statistics/period-ending-december-2013/stb-crime-stats-dec-2013.html

Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill - New Clause 26, ‘Assault of Workers’ was moved by Jack Dromey MP and debated in the House of Commons on 15 October 2013 (Col 628).  http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201314/cmhansrd/cm131015/debtext/131015-0002.htm

Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill – Amendment 87, ‘Assault of Workers’ was moved by Lord Foulkes of Cumnock and debated in the House of Lord’s on 14 January 2014 (Col 165).  http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld201314/ldhansrd/text/140114-0002.htm

Criminal Justice and Courts Bill - New Clause 11, ‘Assault on workers selling alcohol’ was moved by Dan Jarvis MP and debated in Committee on 27 March 2014 (Col 502). http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201314/cmpublic/criminaljustice/140327/pm/140327s01.htm

For further information please contact Usdaw’s Acting Media Officer, David Williams on: 0161 249 2469, 07798 696 603 or by e-mail to david.a.williams@usdaw.org.uk

For Usdaw press releases visit: 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