Delyn MP David Hanson has backed Usdaw, in their call for respect for retail workers, after they released preliminary survey results that show over one million shopworkers were assaulted, threatened or verbally abused in the last twelve months.
The survey shows that in the past 12 months, 6% of shopworkers were subjected to violent attack, 37% were threatened with harm and a massive 70% had suffered verbal abuse. While reported incidents of assault are slightly down, incidents of threats and abuse have increased since last year.
Also revealed in the survey is that around 50% of incidents of abuse were as a result of selling age-restricted products, like alcohol, cigarettes, aerosols, etc.
David Hanson said:
“Shopworkers deserve respect and they have my full support. We must do more to help them do their job safely.
“I would like to see a high profile publicity campaign in support of ‘no id – no sale’ and ensuring that young people are aware that it is an offence to attempt to buy alcohol if you are under 18.”
“That is why I will sign EDM 791 to show my support and help make the voices of shopworkers heard.”
“I am challenging the Government not to declare shops as automatically safe workplaces, as has been suggested by Lord Young. They need health and safety inspections from time to time to ensure that risks are minimised. The Government must continue to support the HSE and local authorities to inspect all workplaces.
“I would also be concerned by a drop in the current record numbers of police and Community Support Officers who protect front-line workers and the public from violence, threats and abuse. The Government has a duty to protect communities.
John Hannett, Usdaw General Secretary, added: “We are delighted that David is supporting our campaign on behalf of shopworkers in Delyn.
“These figures are once again quite shocking and show that Usdaw’s Freedom from Fear campaign is needed more than ever.
“Age restricted sales is an issue of real concern to our members. If they make a mistake and serve somebody under-18 they risk being prosecuted and receiving an £80 fine.
“If they fail to ask for age identification from somebody under-25, they run the risk of being disciplined for not following company policy.
“But asking for age identification can lead to abuse from customers who get frustrated and a refusal to serve can be a real flashpoint for threats or even violence. That’s why we are asking the shopping public to show respect and understand that the shopworkers are only doing what they’ve been told to do.”
Picture: David Hanson MP attended an Usdaw event in Westminster. He put himself in the shoes of a shopworkers and got behind a checkout and experience for themselves the difficult situations our members face every day.”
Notes for Editors:
1. The initial results quoted above are derived from 1,200 responses received from Usdaw members and other shopworkers between July and September this year.
2. Over 2.9 million people work in retail. Assuming that only 60% of these are shopworkers directly serving the public, if the survey results are extrapolated, it means there have been well over a million incidents of assault, threats or abuse against the UK’s shopworkers in the last 12 months.
3. Usdaw’s Freedom from Fear Campaign seeks to prevent violence, threats and abuse against shopworkers. It has four main aims:
· to negotiate with employers for safety and security improvements in stores.
· to campaign with Government for policies to help tackle retail crime and anti-social behaviour in shopping areas.
· to raise awareness with the shopping public that violence, threats and abuse against shopworkers is unacceptable behaviour.
· to give shopworkers the confidence to speak out and not accept abuse as just a part of the job.
4. Usdaw (the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers) is the UK’s fourth biggest trade union, with over 390,000 members. Most Usdaw members work in the retail sector, but the union also has many members in transport, distribution, food manufacturing, chemicals and other trades.