Usdaw, the trade union representing shop workers is calling for new legislation to protect shop workers from violence.
Statistics released by the Office of National Statistics last week show a 14% rise in the number of police recorded incidents of shoplifting in England and Wales over the last decade, which Usdaw highlight as the main trigger for violence, threats and abuse against shopworkers.
Usdaw are calling for tougher sentences for those who attack shopworkers, and a change to the out of court disposals system (including the issuing of fixed penalty notices) which they say is failing to have an impact on reoffending rates.
According to Usdaw’s most recent survey of thousands of retail staff, an average shopworker is abused, threatened or assaulted more than 21 times a year – nearly once a fortnight. This cannot be allowed to continue.
Violence and abuse should not be a part of any shopworker’s job. The calls from trade unions and many retailer businesses for tougher penalties for those who assault shopworkers, and the introduction of a stand-alone offence which can be understood by the public, courts and offenders, is a sensible one. The law as it stands is not adequately protecting vulnerable workers who are such an important part of our economy and our communities.
I’m backing USDAW’s campaign.