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Yet another survey exposes the extent of abuse against retail staff - Usdaw calls on the Government to support a new protection of shopworkers law

Date: 26 May 2021 Shopworkers’ trade union Usdaw is joining with the British Retail Consortium (BRC) in calling for Government action to stem a growing tide of violence and abuse against shopworkers.
The BRC Annual Retail Crime Survey, released today, shows that violence and abuse against shopworkers continues to grow to 455 incidents every day, which represents a 7% increase on the previous year.
 
Paddy Lillis – Usdaw General Secretary says: “This BRC survey is further confirmation of the scale of the problem retail staff face on a daily basis and backs up the findings in Usdaw’s latest research. It has been a terrible time for our members, with almost 90% of shopworkers suffering abuse, two-thirds threatened and nearly one in ten assaulted. Retail workers, their friends, family and loved ones, are saying loud and clear that enough is enough, abuse should never be just a part of the job.
 
“Despite this overwhelming evidence the Government continues to refuse to support a specific law to protect shopworkers, which is backed by the BRC and many retailers. So we are pleased that the Labour frontbench has tabled a protection of shopworkers amendment to the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, which we hope will be supported in the bill committee.
 
“When retail employers, leading retail bodies and the shopworkers’ trade union jointly call for legislation, 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. Usdaw and retailers have given evidence to that ongoing inquiry. In January, the Scottish Parliament voted for a new law to protect shopworkers. Now Labour’s shadow policing minister Sarah Jones MP has tabled a protection of shopworkers amendment to the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill.
 
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.
 
House of Commons Home Affairs Select Committee Inquiry: https://committees.parliament.uk/work/915/violence-and-abuse-towards-retailworkers/
 
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
 
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
 
For Usdaw press releases visit: http://www.usdaw.org.uk/news and you can follow us on Twitter @UsdawUnion

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The official website of the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers