Usdaw launches Respect Shopworkers campaign
The union said its Respect for Shopworkers Week launched today aims to remind shoppers that retail staff are real people who do not deserve to be abused, threatened or assaulted. It will form part of the union’s Freedom from Fear Campaign, which has been running for the last 10 years.
Usdaw also carries out an annual retail crime survey which has revealed that every minute of every day a shopworker is verbally abused, threatened or physically attacked. Figures from this year’s survey show that 49% of shopworkers have been victims of verbal abuse, 35% have been threatened, and 4% have suffered violent assaults.
Whilst the figures represent a slight decrease from last year, the union argues that they still show unacceptably high levels of attacks with the 4% of shopworkers assaulted amounting to around 120,000 violent attacks against retail staff across the UK.
John Hannett, Usdaw general secretary, said: “Despite recent good news about the overall crime rate coming down, the latest Crime Survey statistics reveal that shoplifting increased slightly, showing that the Government must not be complacent about the safety of retail staff.
“Often, in the course of their duties, shopworkers are expected to enforce the law, whether that is preventing under-age purchases or detaining shoplifters until the police arrive. They can be put in real danger. So it is always a real concern to our members when shoplifting is on the increase, because too often that can result in the shopworker being assaulted by the thief.
“Usdaw is campaigning for a change in the law to provide more severe punishments for those who assault workers serving the public. We are concerned by some of the lenient sentences given to criminals guilty of some pretty awful attacks.
“We were disappointed that this proposal was rejected by the Government in the House of Commons, but we are hopeful that it will be backed by the House of Lords and the Government will be forced to think again.”
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