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76% of retail staff experiencing higher levels of abuse, Usdaw finds

Usdaw has announced that three quarters of retail staff have experienced high levels of abuse and said it “has been worse during the pandemic”.

The retail trade union acquired the statistics from over 2,000 retail staff in its annual survey.

The interim results for this year showed that 76% of staff said abuse has been “worse than normal” during the Covid-19 pandemic.

A further 85% of shop workers said they have experienced “verbal abuse”, while 57% claimed they were threatened by a customer and 9% were reportedly assaulted.

As a result of the survey, the union said it is launching an annual ‘Respect for Shopworkers Week’ which will run from 16-22 November 2020.

During the week, Usdaw said it will be ”raising awareness” of the year-round “Freedom from Fear Campaign”, in a bid to promote the petition to Parliament where the union said it will be “calling on the Government to legislate and protect shopworkers”.

The petition currently has over 70,000 signatures.

Paddy Lillis, general secretary for Usdaw said: “Yet another Usdaw survey shows that some people have responded to this appalling pandemic by abusing shopworkers.

“At a time when we should all be working together to get through this national crisis, it is a disgrace that staff working to keep food on the shelves are being abused.Action to protect shopworkers is needed and that is why we have launched a petition, which now has over 70,000 signatures.”

He added: “We were deeply disappointed by the Government’s response to the petition, offering little more than sympathy, so we continue to campaign for the 100,000 signatures needed to trigger a parliamentary debate.

“This is a hugely important issue for our members. Shopworkers are saying loud and clear that enough is enough, abuse should never be just a part of the job. Retail staff have a crucial role in our communities and that role must be valued and respected, they deserve the protection of the law.”

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