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Abuse of shopworkers petition crosses the first hurdle of 10K signatures in one day - Usdaw urges the Government to respond positively

Date: 20 August 2020 Shop workers’ trade union leader Paddy Lillis yesterday launched a petition to protect retail staff from violence, threats and abuse. It is now the fastest growing petition on the parliamentary website, having passed 10,000 signatures in one day. This means the Government now has to respond to the petition.
The petition now has over 22,000 signatures and can be signed at https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/328621 Usdaw continues to campaign for 100,000 signatures that should trigger a parliamentary debate.
 
The petition is backed by the UK’s largest convenience store retailer Co-op Food, along with the industry’s leading trade bodies the British Retail Consortium and the Association of Convenience Stores.
 
Paddy Lillis – Usdaw General Secretary says: “We are delighted that the petition has already reached the first milestone, which requires the Government to respond. It is no surprise, because this is a hugely important issue for our members and, with incidents of abuse doubling during the Covid-19 crisis they are saying loud and clear that enough is enough, abuse should never be just a part of the job.
 
“I am grateful to the employers for supporting the petition. When retailers and the trade union for shop workers unite in a call for action, it should be time for the Government to sit up, listen to our concerns and deliver much needed protection for staff.
 
“I urge the Government to respond positively to my petition, listen to the voices of shop workers and employers and commit to legislating for stiffer penalties for those who assault workers. They have talked about zero-tolerance, but that means very little if it is not backed up by strong actions.
 
“The measures the Government have agreed are worth trying and we hope that they can make a real difference. However they would be much more likely to succeed if backed up with new legislation; a simple standalone offence that is widely recognised and understood by the public, police, CPS, the judiciary and most importantly criminals.
 
“Retail staff have a crucial role in our communities and that role must be valued and respected, they deserve the protection of the law.”
 
Notes for editors:
 
Usdaw (Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers) is the UK's fifth biggest trade union with over 400,000 members. Membership has increased by more than one-third over the last couple of decades. Most Usdaw members work in the retail sector, but the union also has many members in transport, distribution, food manufacturing, chemicals and other trades.
 
Results of Usdaw’s Coronavirus survey, based on 4,928 responses from shopworkers across the UK, shows that between 14 March and 17 April 2020: 62.28% were verbally abused, 29.07% were threatened, 4.01% assaulted. When extrapolated over circa 3,000,000 retail workers, this amounts to over 3,538 assaults per day. Usdaw believes this is an underestimation because the survey analysis assumes each respondent was only assaulted once and it was conducted in mainly larger trade union organised stores, which tend to be safer than smaller non-unionised workplaces.
 
Violence and Abuse Toward Shop Staff – Government Response:
https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/903433/260620_Violence_and_assaults_against_shopworkers_-_Publication_of_Call_for_Evidence_Response.pdf
 
For Usdaw press releases visit: http://www.usdaw.org.uk/news and you can follow us on Twitter @UsdawUnion

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