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 13th to 19th 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.
Usdaw’s survey of retail workers shows that half of shopworkers were verbally abused in the last year, with 29% being threatened with violence and 8% suffering physical assaults. A third of those suffering physical violence did not report the incident to their employer.
Abuse is not part of the job.
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.
I am one of 49 MPs so far to add my name to the following Early Day Motion in Parliament in support of the campaign:
That this House applauds the members and representatives of the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers for their Freedom From Fear campaign, which seeks to bring together employers, the police and local authorities to tackle the scourge of violence, threats and abuse against public-facing workers; further applauds the work of all trade unions in running campaigns that seek to protect their members at work; is appalled that public-facing workers are assaulted, threatened or abused; and calls on the Government to recognise the need to extend provisions in law to support the protection of shop workers by imposing an additional penalty for those who assault workers in the course of their duties.
Sir David Crausby with Usdaw General Secretary John Hannett - 2014