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Usdaw launches petition to protect retail workers against crime

Sadiyah Ismailjee
19 August 2020

British shopworkers union, Usdaw has launched a House of Commons petition with the aim to protect retail workers from violence and abuse.

Trade union Usdaw’s leader Paddy Lillis begun the petition after recording a rapid increase in the number of abuse cases towards store workers during the Coronavirus pandemic.

The survey reported that on average, store workers experienced verbal abuse, threats or assaults every fortnight in 2019.

Although, those figures doubled to every week amid the lockdown period.

The petition calls on the House of Commons to create legislation that protects retail workers, as well as making the abuse a serious offence which can result to a penalty.

It includes testimonials from store workers who describe their experiences of “constant abuse”.

Paddy Lillis said: “We are appalled that violence, threats and abuse have doubled during this national emergency.”

“In light of the unacceptable increase in abuse of shopworkers, there needs to be urgent action to help protect staff. I urge the government not to dismiss my petition, but to listen to the voices of shopworkers and legislate for stiffer penalties for those who assault workers."

“They have talked about zero tolerance, but that means very little if it is not backed up by strong actions."

“Retail staff have a crucial role in our communities and that role must be valued and respected; they deserve the protection of the law.”

Last month, the British government responded to increasing calls of abuse and violence against retail workers by announcing new measures to tackle the issue.

This included working in partnership with National Retail Crime Steering Group (NRCSG) to create a best practice guide to support retail employees in reporting crimes, strengthening and making current laws more transparent as well as improving data sharing between retailers and the police.

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