A Preston MP has backed a campaign that seeks to protect shopworkers from violence and abuse.Advertisement
Sir Mark Hendrick has backed retail trade union Usdaw’s ‘Freedom from Fear’ campaign after research revealed that nearly half of 3,500 surveyed shopworkers were not confident that reporting abuse would make a difference.
Today, Usdaw has launched shocking statistics from their annual survey as part of Respect for Shopworkers Week, running from 15 to 21 November.
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Interim results from nearly 3,500 retail staff show that in the last twelve months:
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Sir Mark, who has supported this campaign each year, said: “These figures are alarming and paint a picture that retail workers not only face high levels of abuse but are also very worried about reporting incidents.
“No worker should have to put with verbal abuse, physical threats or violence while trying to do their job. It has been a difficult enough period, as it is as we emerge and try to recover from the worst effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Shopworkers, especially keyworkers, did an immense job of keeping things going, and they deserve to be treated with respect, especially with a busy Christmas shopping period coming up. I fully support this campaign and call on our
government to increase protection for retail workers.”
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Below is a list of comments from shopworkers responding to this year’s annual survey:
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During the annual campaign week, Usdaw, activists and officials are raising awareness of the year-round Freedom from Fear Campaign, talking to the public at street stalls and in shops to promote a message of ‘respect for shopworkers’.
Usdaw is campaigning for new protection of workers law, such as legislation that came into force in Scotland in August 2021, making it an offence to assault or behave in a threatening or abusive way to a retail worker.
The union said it continues to call on the government to extend those protections to shopworkers across the rest of the UK.
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Usdaw General Secretary Paddy Lillis said: “It is shocking that 9 in 10 of our members working in retail are suffering abuse from customers, with far too many experiencing threats and violence.
“It is extremely worrying that over half are not confident that reporting these issues will make any difference. The new protection of workers law in Scotland is welcome, and we urge the UK Government to extend it to England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
“Retail staff across the UK have a crucial role in our communities, and that role must be valued and respected. They deserve the protection of the law.”
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What are your thoughts on the campaign? Let us know in the comments below