Friday, 15 November 2013

I'm backing calls to show respect for shopworkers

I joined staff at The Co-operative Food store in Winstanley this morning, to back a campaign calling on shoppers to show respect for retail workers.

My visit is in support of national shopworkers’ union Usdaw’s “Freedom from Fear Campaign”, and its Respect for Shopworkers Week, which runs from 11-15 November.

As a community retailer, The Co-operative is backing Usdaw’s campaign and has taken a leading role in tackling retail crime.

Verbal or physical abuse is not part of the job description for staff working in retail. Shopworkers should not have to put up with harassment or abuse from customers, when they are trying their best to serve the public.

They deserve our respect and that is why I applaud Co-operative stores across our area for backing Usdaw’s ‘Freedom from Fear' campaign.

Gwynneth Smedley, The Co-operative Food’s Regional Stores Director for the North West and North Midlands said, “The Co-operative’s food stores provide an essential service to local communities, that many people rely on in the run up to Christmas, and anti-social behaviour by a minority can have a devastating impact. However, it’s also a time of year shops are crowded and people are more stressed, so this is an important reminder that everyone, including retail workers, deserve respect.”

This week retail staff trade union leader John Hannett revealed survey results showing that 1 in 6 shopworkers had not reported a violent attack to their manager or the police.

John Hannett – Usdaw General Secretary said, “It is very worrying that 1 in 6 shopworkers who have
been physically assaulted did not report the incident to their employer or the police. We are shocked that
so many are suffering in silence and I would urge shopworkers to report all incidents, to give us and the
employers the chance to sort the problem."

"We are seeking a change in the law to provide for stiffer sentences for those who assault workers
serving the public. There is a real need to address the scourge of violence against workers. This
proposal would make it clear to potential assailants that attacking shopworkers is totally unacceptable
and reassure retail staff that reporting incidents will result in proper punishment for the offender."

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