MP for Luton South backs USDAW’s campaign to protect shopworkers

I fully support USDAW’s campaign to introduce legislation that will make the abuse of shopworkers a specific offence. Shopworkers have been pivotal during the pandemic to keep our country moving, ensuring our shelves are stacked and safety measures are in place. More needs to be done to keep these essential workers safe. 

Last year, I was concerned to hear from Co-op staff in Luton South that around 30-40 staff nationally are assaulted every week. This is simply unacceptable; no worker should have to face verbal and physical abuse at work, and that’s why the Labour Party backs USDAW’s campaign as it should never just be an accepted part of the job. 

USDAW has reported that abuse against shopworkers has increased by 25% since the start of the pandemic. In their 2020 survey, USDAW reported that 88% of shopworkers had experienced verbal abuse and that 61% had been threatened by a customer. Despite these shocking statistics, analysis by USDAW showed that the police only responded to 33% of reported abusive incidents in Co-op stores and just 6% of incidents resulted in a prosecution. This leads to many workers not reporting incidents due to a lack of belief in the system. 

A specific law against shopworker abuse will simplify reporting, prosecution, and sentencing, ensuring shopworkers the protection they need. Many of my constituents agree, as 123 Luton South residents signed a petition calling for such a law. Others have also emailed me to stress their support for the legislation. 

USDAW’s call to make the abuse of shopworkers a specific offence would deliver the protection retail workers deserve. Shopworkers have to deal with members of the public every day and are often asked to enforce the law putting them in a situation that can lead to confrontation with the public, including enforcing social distancing or refusing the sale of alcohol but are being afforded no specific protection by the law. The current sentencing guidelines are very unclear and often leave victims feeling let down.  

To read more about the Labour Party’s support for protecting shopworkers, see the link below. 

USDAW – Labour backs a new protection of shopworkers law – Usdaw welcomes cross-party support and urges the Government to act 

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