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Protect shopworkers petition attracts cross-party support - Usdaw urges the Government to respond positively to Monday’s Parliamentary debate

Date: 04 June 2021 Usdaw’s parliamentary petition that seeks to protect retail staff from violence, threats and abuse is being debated in Parliament on Monday 7 June 2021 at 6.15pm. Usdaw has welcomed the support of Matt Vickers MP (Conservative, Stockton South) who will be introducing the debate on behalf of the House of Commons Petitions Committee.
Launched by shopworkers’ trade union leader Paddy Lillis, the petition attracted 104,000 signatures, is backed by major retailers and the industry’s leading trade bodies, with research by the Co-op showing its aims have public support as well. Usdaw members continue to lobby their MP by visiting: https://www.usdaw.org.uk/FFFDebate
 
Yesterday Mr Vickers met with Usdaw reps to hear first-hand the scale of the problem shopworkers face, often on a daily basis. Usdaw is now looking for the support of MPs and the Government to deliver on the aims of the petition with new legislation. This could be achieved by supporting a Labour amendment to the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill.
 
Paddy Lillis – Usdaw General Secretary says: “We welcome support from Conservative MPs and thank Matt Vickers for taking the time to meet our members. We now urge MPs to support the aims of the petition and persuade the Government to back legislation to protect shopworkers.
 
“They have the perfect opportunity by accepting an amendment from Sarah Jones MP to the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, which we hope will be supported in the bill committee.
 
“Retail employers, leading retail bodies and the shopworkers’ trade union are jointly calling for legislation, so it is time for the Government and MPs to listen. In Scotland, MSPs voted through a new ground-breaking law to give shopworkers the protection they deserve. We are now looking for MPs to support key workers across the retail sector and help turn around the UK Government’s opposition.”
 
Campaign update: Late last year, the influential House of Commons Home Affairs Select Committee launched an inquiry into the issue the day after Usdaw secured over 104,000 signatures on a ‘protect shopworkers’ petition, which is now set to be debated on 7 June. In January, the Scottish Parliament voted for a new law to protect shopworkers. Labour’s shadow policing minister Sarah Jones MP has tabled a protection of shopworkers amendment to the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, which is currently at committee stage.
 
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.
 
Sarah Jones MP: NC45 amendment to the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, “Offence of assaulting etc. retail worker” https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/bills/cbill/58-02/0005/amend/police_rm_pbc_0524.pdf
 
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
  • 79% of shopworkers say abuse was worse last year
The full report can be downloaded from: www.usdaw.org.uk/FFFReport2020
 
House of Commons Home Affairs Select Committee Inquiry: https://committees.parliament.uk/work/915/violence-and-abuse-towards-retailworkers/
 
Co-op respect for shopworkers survey: https://www.co-operative.coop/media/news-releases/respect-for-shopworkers-one-in-five-customers-admit-to-showing-aggression
 
66 retail leaders wrote to the Prime Minister: https://brc.org.uk/media/676908/pm-ceo-crime-letter-feb-2021.pdf
 
For Usdaw press releases visit: http://www.usdaw.org.uk/news and you can follow us on Twitter @UsdawUnion

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