Martin Whitfield MSP is backing a trade union’s campaign week on respect for shopworkers, following the release of new statistics demonstrating the ongoing scale of violence and aggression against retail staff.

Interim results from shopworkers’ union Usdaw from over 4,600 retail staff responses across the UK show that in the last 12 months (pre-pandemic levels in brackets, from the 2019 survey):

  • 71% (67%) have experienced verbal abuse.
  • 48% (42%) were threatened by a customer.
  • 5% (5%) were assaulted.
  • 45% said they were not confident that reporting abuse, threats and violence will make a difference.
  • 20% of those who had been assaulted did not report the incident.

The figures were released at the start of the union’s annual Respect for Shopworkers Week (14-20 November) which highlights the ongoing threat to shop and other retail workers.

Commenting, Martin Whitfield MSP said:

“Violence, abuse and threats in the workplace have been a regular occurrence for too long for too many retail staff. While my colleague Daniel Johnson’s Protection of Workers (Retail and Age-restricted Goods and Services) Act, which came into force last year, was a welcome step forward in protection for retail workers, it has not eradicated the problem.

“Usdaw’s annual Respect for Shopworkers Week continues to put the spotlight on this problem in the run-up to the festive period when issues of customer abuse can be at their worst. I fully support the union’s loud and clear message that abuse is not a part of the job and should never be tolerated.”