MP for Redcar, Anna Turley, has backed the ‘Freedom From Fear’ campaign, led by shopworkers’ union USDAW, calling for an end to abuse in the workplace.
During this year’s annual Respect for Shopworkers Week (14th to 20th November), USDAW have revealed shocking statistics which show nearly one in ten shopworkers have been assaulted in the course of their duties, but almost a third of them didn’t report the incident.
“This is a really important campaign led by USDAW to raise awareness of the abuse, threats and violence that shopworkers have come up against in the course of doing their job. No one should have to put up with this kind of behaviour at work.
“Shop workers are the back bone of our retail sector and I am proud to be supporting USDAW’s campaign to ensure they are treated with the respect they deserve.
“I urge everyone to remember, especially during this busy Christmas shopping period, that if you are out shopping and tensions are running high, retail workers are just doing their job so don’t lose your cool.”
John Hannett, Usdaw General Secretary said:
“Life on the frontline of retail can be pretty tough for many shopworkers and there is still a lot to do to help protect them. We launched our Freedom From Fear Campaign in the face of growing concerns amongst retail staff about violence, threats and abuse. The campaign works with employers to promote respect and make shops safer for staff and customers alike.
“All too often criminals who assault staff are not even sent to court, those who are can receive derisory sentences. In other cases, where the offender isn’t even charged, victims are left feeling that no one cares that they were assaulted. That can lead to staff not reporting incidents and our strong message is ‘report it, to sort it’.
“So there needs to be action to help protect staff. It is time for the Government to act by providing stiffer penalties for those who assault workers; a simple stand-alone offence that is widely recognised and understood by the public, police, CPS, the judiciary and most importantly criminals. On four separate occasions Parliament has had the opportunity to toughen the law to better protect shopworkers, but each time the Tories and Liberals have combined to block Labour’s attempts.”
“This week our members are out campaigning on high streets, in shopping centres and stores; talking to the public and asking them to ‘keep their cool and respect shopworkers’. Retail staff have a crucial role in our communities and that role must be valued and respected.”