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Majority of shopworkers face verbal abuse

Over half (56%) of shopworkers have suffered verbal abuse from customers in the past year, according to the latest survey by shopworkers' union, Usdaw.

GENERAL MERCHANDISE

Majority of shopworkers face verbal abuse

Over half (56%) of shopworkers have suffered verbal abuse from customers in the past year, according to the latest survey by shopworkers' union, Usdaw.

Contrary to popular belief, it's not just 'hoodies' who are responsible for such anti-social behaviour. Usdaw, the shopworkers' union, says that violence and abuse against shopworkers is often caused by the most unlikely perpetrators.

The

union is pressing the point to MPs this Wednesday, as part of its Freedom From Fear campaign, which seeks to highlight and curtail the frequent abuse of shopworkers.

At the launch in Westminster, MPs, including Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith, will be talking to Usdaw members who have suffered violence, abuse and threats at the hands of customers who, on appearance, may look quite respectable. The MPs will also be looking at five life-size caricatures of shop customers and trying to guess which ones were guilty of which offences.

Usdaw General Secretary, John Hannett, said: "The issue of abuse against shopworkers is a serious one. Our latest survey of members shows that the majority (56%) of respondents were verbally abused at sometime in the last 12 months, with 4% claiming they are verbally abused on a daily basis.

"These figures are lower than last year, thanks to our annual campaign. For example, many customers who signed our petition last year to respect shopworkers said that it would make them stop and think before 'sounding off', so it seems that the message is hitting home. However, the incidents of verbal abuse are still unacceptably high, with shopworkers never being sure whether the next customer is going to kick off or be offensive so it is important that we continue to highlight the pressures they face on a daily basis.

"Usdaw's 'Respect Week' will be taking place all over the country from 3-7 November. The MPs will take back what they've learned to events in their constituencies, and encourage local shoppers to sign a Christmas card to shopworkers, pledging to show them due respect over the stressful Christmas period."

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