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ShopKind Week: Usdaw joins the call for respect for shopworkers, who are under pressure during the cost of living crisis

Date: 17 April 2023 Retail trade union Usdaw has welcomed today’s launch of the national #ShopKind Week, which encourages shoppers to treat staff with respect. New polling reveals that more than one in three people believe that shopping has become more frustrating as a result of the cost of living crisis and 36% of customers have personally witnessed a shopworker being verbally or physically abused by another customer.
The #ShopKind campaign is backed by the Home Office and supported by over 100 leading high street retailers, the nation’s shopkeepers and Usdaw. It aims to remind customers about the importance of being considerate to shopworkers and each other. The new polling highlights 31% of customers are more anxious when they shop. It also details which situations are most likely to lead to abuse of shopworkers. The most frequently cited triggers in the survey were: 
  • Not enough staff to serve.
  • Queues at the till.
  • Products not being available. 
Usdaw’s latest annual survey of over 7,700 retail staff shows that nearly a third (30%) are considering changing their job and over four-in-ten (41%) feel anxious about work, all because of high levels of verbal abuse, threats and assaults. The survey also found the number of incidents has come down since the exceptionally high levels during the pandemic, but remain higher than pre-Covid levels in 2019. In the last twelve months (pre-pandemic levels in brackets, from the 2019 survey):
  • 74% (68%) have experienced verbal abuse.
  • 49% (43%) were threatened by a customer.
  • 8% (5%) were assaulted.
The full report can be found at: www.usdaw.org.uk/FFFReport2022
This week (17-23 April) retailers are reminding customers to ShopKind in stores and acknowledge the important role of shopworkers to communities. The #ShopKind campaign urges the public to be mindful of shopworkers’ essential role serving the public and emphasises that workers should be treated with respect, kindness and
Paddy Lillis - Usdaw General Secretary says: “Usdaw very much welcomes the ShopKind campaign, which brings together voices from across the retail sector, politicians and the police to promote a message of respect for shopworkers. Usdaw’s own annual survey found that nearly three-quarters of our members working in retail suffered verbal abuse last year, with far too many being threatened or assaulted.
“These are key workers delivering essential services and we stand together to say that abuse should not be a part of their job. We need better co-ordination to ensure that retail employers, police and the courts work together to make stores safer and give staff the support and confidence they need to report incidents. This week of action is a great step towards that aim.”
Notes for editors:
Usdaw (Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers) is the UK's fifth biggest trade union with over 350,000 members. Most Usdaw members work in the retail sector, but the union also has many members in transport, distribution, food manufacturing, chemical industry and other trades www.usdaw.org.uk
ShopKind Week: https://nbcc.police.uk/business-support/shopkind/shopkind-webpage
Final results of the Usdaw 2022 survey, based on 7,752 responses, show that (last year’s results in brackets): 74.26% (89%) were verbally abused, 49.25% (63%) were threatened. 7.92% (12%) had been assaulted. 40.88% said violence, threats and abuse caused them anxiety at work and 29.97% are now considering changing job.
Comparison 2019 2020 2021 2022
Abuse 68% 88% 89% 74%
Threats 43% 61% 63% 49%
Violence 5% 9% 12% 8%
Usdaw’s Freedom from Fear Campaign seeks to prevent violence, threats and abuse against workers by engaging the public, shopworkers and the Government. www.usdaw.org.uk/Campaigns/Freedom-From-Fear
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