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.
Paddy Lillis – Usdaw General Secretary says:
“I am grateful to our reps, activists and members who worked hard to pass the necessary 100,000 signatures, which has now secured a parliamentary debate. This is a hugely important issue for shopworkers, with incidents of abuse doubling during the pandemic. Abuse should never be just a part of the job.
“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.”
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