Nobody should ever have to go to work fearing that they will be threatened or abused, but for many retail staff this is a regular occurrence.

I am working with the shopworkers union Usdaw to highlight the problems faced by retail staff. Respect for Shopworkers Week runs from 14th to 20th November and seeks to prevent violence, threats and abuse directed at staff who are serving the public.

It is really important we stand together and ask people to keep their cool and respect shopworkers, especially as we approach the busy Christmas shopping period.

We’ve all been shocked by the scenes of violence in previous years during the chaos of “Black Friday” and I do not want to see anything like that again this year or in the future.

The sad reality is that this doesn’t just happen on one day of the year, over three hundred shopworkers are assaulted every day.

Usdaw General Secretary, John Hannett, makes the very valid point that, in the course of their duties, shopworkers are often expected to enforce the law. Whether that is preventing under-age purchases of products like knives, tobacco or alcohol, or detaining shoplifters until the police arrive, they can be put in real danger. Politicians and members of the public must work together to ensure that shopworkers get the respect they deserve.

I will continue to campaign with Usdaw to provide shopworkers with the support that they need and deserve. We must give a clear message to everyone that abusing or assaulting workers who are serving the public is totally unacceptable. Everyone should be able to go about their work free from fear.

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