Thursday, 13 November 2014

Freedom From Fear

Pic with me l-r: Graeme Lee, Gaynor Kirk,
Linda Lowe & Brian Topping
In the last twelve months over 300 frontline retail staff were assaulted every day, just for doing their job.

Today I visited shop workers at the Tesco Xtra Store, Cross St, Hindley to support the local Usdaw trade union ‘Freedom from Fear’ campaign week (10th -14th Nov).

This week Usdaw General Secretary John Hannett revealed that over 300 frontline retail staff are verbally or physically assaulted every day, just for doing their job.

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.

Talking to shop workers on the frontline today revealed just how difficult it can be. Asking for age identification can lead to abuse from customers who get frustrated and a refusal to serve can be a real flashpoint for threats or even violence. That’s why I am asking the shopping public to show respect and understand that the shopworkers are only doing what they’ve been told to do.”

John Hannett said, “Too often retail employees are confronted with violence, threats and abuse and it is really important we stand together and ask people to keep their cool and respect shopworkers."

“In the course of their duties, shopworkers are expected to enforce the law. Whether that is preventing under-age purchases of products like knives, tobacco or alcohol, or detaining shoplifters until the police arrive, they can be put in real danger."

“Parliament has given shopworkers the duty to enforce the law and Parliament should provide the necessary protection. So it has been disappointing to see Tory and Liberal MPs, on four occasions in the last couple of years, combine to vote down additional legal protections when proposed by Labour.”

Usdaw (Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers) is the UK's fourth biggest and the fastest growing Trade Union with over 431,000 members. Membership has increased by more than 17% in the last five years and by nearly a third in the last decade. Most Usdaw members work in the retail sector, but the Union also has many members in transport, distribution, food manufacturing, chemicals and other trades.

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