The Government has published its updated safety guidance ahead of reopening which makes clear that all customers will have to continue to follow social distancing rules; shop alone or in small groups; queue or follow one-way signs where necessary; follow hygiene rules; and wear a face covering unless they have an exemption.
The pandemic has seen a shocking rise in violence and abuse against shopworkers, with incidents often occurring when staff encourage customers to follow these rules. Shopworkers have been coughed on, attacked and threatened, just for doing their job, and the situation has been getting worse.
Usdaw’s 2020 survey of 2,729 shopworkers across the UK found that: 88% experienced verbal abuse; 60% were threatened by a customer; 9% were assaulted, and 79% of shopworkers say abuse was worse last year.
The full report can be downloaded from: www.usdaw.org.uk/FFFReport2020
Usdaw General Secretary Paddy Lillis said:
“The reopening of stores offers a lifeline for many retailers, which helps to safeguard jobs, but the virus is still out there. We expect employers to conduct full risk assessments, follow the agreed guidance and ensure that customers are fully informed of the necessary safety measures. Shoppers need to play their part in helping to limit the spread of the virus and avoid further lockdowns by following the rules and respecting staff.
“Regrettably, throughout this appalling pandemic, incidents of abuse towards shopworkers doubled and Covid safety measures have now become significant flashpoints. Abuse should never be part of the job and shopworkers – who played a vital role in getting food and medicine into our homes during the pandemic – deserve our thanks and respect.
“In January, the Scottish Parliament unanimously voted for a ground-breaking new law to protect shopworkers. Usdaw campaigned for many years to secure these legal protections. Unfortunately, the UK Government has persistently opposed new legislation. Usdaw will continue to campaign on this in an attempt to turn around the UK Government’s opposition.”
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.
For Usdaw press releases visit: http://www.usdaw.org.uk/news
and you can follow us on Twitter @UsdawUnion