Usdaw’s Freedom From Fear Campaign works to prevent violence, threats and abuse against workers. We do this by engaging the public, shopworkers and the Government.
Results of Usdaw’s Freedom From Fear Survey 2022 show that three-quarters experienced verbal abuse, half were threatened by a customer and 8% were assaulted. 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 abuse, threats and violence.
The full results of our 2022 survey are available here Survey Results.
Our campaign has made huge strides over the last two years. In August 2021, as a result of our campaigning a new ground-breaking law to protect shopworkers from violence, threats and abuse was introduced in Scotland. Legal protections have also been delivered for retail workers in England and Wales.
However, retail workers continue to be impacted by abuse, threats and violence and therefore the campaign must continue. The Union is engaging with employers, politicians, the police and the justice system to ensure shopworkers have the protection they deserve.
We raise awareness with the public that violence, threats and abuse against workers is unacceptable behaviour. We give workers the confidence to speak out and report abuse, not accept it as part of the job.
We also work with employers to achieve safety and security improvements in stores, and raise the issues of neighbourhood policing, retail crime and underage sales. We lobby the Government to enact a new law, creating a specific offence relating to assault on people who work in a face-to-face public role. We have come close to achieving this in the past but have been blocked by the Conservatives.
Respect for Shopworkers Week is an important part of the Freedom From Fear campaign - this year's campaign took place from 13 to 19 November 2023. The purpose of the week is to support retail workers and ensure the general public understands the key message that abuse is not part of the job.