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Scottish Parliament committee scrutinises proposed protection of shopworkers law - Usdaw calls for the Bill to progress

Date: 13 May 2020 Shopworkers’ trade union Usdaw has welcomed further scrutiny of the Protection of Workers (Retail and Age-restricted Goods and Services) (Scotland) Bill at today’s Economy, Energy and Fair Work Committee meeting. Usdaw calls for the Bill to complete Stage 1 and progress to Stage 2 of the legislative process, so that the Parliament can give consideration to amendments.
Promoted by Daniel Johnson MSP (Labour, Edinburgh), the new law would protect retail workers from threats and abuse when enforcing the law on the purchase of age-restricted products. Today’s meeting heard evidence from Daniel Johnson and allowed members of the committee to question him on his proposed new legislation.
 
Stewart Forrest – Usdaw’s Scottish Divisional Officer says: “We welcome the committee’s scrutiny of this Bill. This proposed new law is really important to our members and tackles a key issue of concern for them. Every minute of every day another Scottish shopworker is abused, threatened or assaulted; often in the course of them enforcing the law, so they deserve the protection of the law.
 
“It was clear from today’s meeting that there is strong support for the intentions of the Bill, albeit there are questions about the details. So we would welcome the Bill progressing to the next stages of the legislative process when amendments can be fully considered.
 
“Throughout the Coronavirus outbreak shopworkers have been on the frontline of ensuring that Scotland remains fed. It is clear that shopworkers are at an increased risk of contracting Covid-19, yet they have continued to go to work and help respond to the crisis sweeping the nation. Despite this key role, we have seen abuse, threats and violence against shop staff double during the Coronavirus emergency.
 
“However abuse of shopworkers is not a problem confined to these times of crisis and, in our view, the current legal provisions do not sufficiently protect them. The Scottish Government has indicated they too support the intentions of the Bill and will engage in the details of it. We hope that will lead to a change in the law to better protect shopworkers.”
 
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.
 
Scottish Parliament TV - Economy, Energy and Fair Work Committee – 13 May: https://www.scottishparliament.tv/meeting/economy-energy-and-fair-work-committee-may-13-2020
 
For Usdaw press releases visit: http://www.usdaw.org.uk/news and you can follow us on Twitter @UsdawUnion

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