Usdaw calls for stiffer penalties for those who assault shopworkers and Labour is ready to deliver

Date: 07 May 2014 Jack Dromey MP, Labour’s Shadow Home Office Minister, has listened to the experiences and concerns of Usdaw members working in retail who are all too often assaulted whilst doing their job and Labour stands ready to act if the Government doesn’t.

Jack Dromey MP – Shadow Home Office Minister says: ‘We have pressed the government to act. If they don’t we will. We will strengthen the law and see it effectively enforced by the police and the Crown Prosecution Service and we will ensure that employers take action, working with Usdaw to ensure the safety of their staff.

‘The police have thus far not taken sufficiently seriously crime against shopworkers and the government has lamentably failed to protect our nation’s shopworkers including cutting 15,000 police officers.

‘I want to send an unmistakable message to shop workers; you have the right to go to work confident that you will be treated with respect and you have a right to freedom from fear.

John Hannett – Usdaw General Secretary says: ‘We have been very disappointed that the Government has persistently rejected a proposal to provide stiffer sentences for those who assault workers.

‘Every day over 300 shopworkers are assaulted simply for doing their job. The Government’s warm words and sympathy are not enough, we need action because of the numerous examples of those assaulting shopworkers receiving lenient sentences or incidents not even being taken to court.

‘We will continue to campaign for a change in the law that will encourage more prosecutions and send a clear message to the public that assaulting a worker in the course of their duties is totally unacceptable. However, it is looking increasingly likely that will only be delivered if Labour returns to Government.’

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.

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 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