Usdaw welcomes violence against shopworkers being raised at PMQs

Usdaw has welcomed MP Alex Norris raising the issue of violence, threats and abuse against shopworkers during yesterday’s Prime Minister’s Questions.

Labour’s Nottingham North MP asked: “Every day, an estimated 280 shopworkers will be victims of violence at work. At my local Co-op, a staff member was hit with a glass bottle. The Co-op is a good employer, and it wants this to stop, so it and other local retailers engaged with the government’s call for evidence on violence towards shop staff. Seven and a half months later, they are awaiting a response.

“Prime Minister, will you commit today to publishing your response to the call for evidence, and will you meet me and a group of shopworkers who have experienced violence at work to hear about what happened to them?”

The Prime Minister responded: “I certainly will make that undertaking to the hon. Gentleman. I am glad that he has raised this matter. We should not tolerate crimes of violence against shopworkers or indeed anybody else. I therefore find it paradoxical that the leader of his party is soft on the deportation of serious violent offenders.”

Usdaw general secretary Paddy Lillis said: “We are grateful to Alex Norris for raising violence, threats and abuse against shopworkers directly with the Prime Minister in the House of Commons. We note the PM’s response, but we remain concerned by the lack of progress.

“The government needs go much further much faster to address this ongoing, growing and pressing problem. Even in the time since the Home Office ‘call for evidence’ closed, our surveying suggests that around 100,000 shopworkers have been assaulted. We can’t go on like this, we need the Prime Minister to back up his words with actions.

“Our message is clear; abuse is not a part of the job. We continue to call for stiffer penalties for those who assault shopworkers and the introduction of a simple stand-alone offence that is widely recognised and understood by the public, police, courts and most importantly criminals.

“We need decisive government action to tackle this growing problem. Retail staff have a crucial role in our communities and that role must be valued and respected, they deserve the protection of the law.”

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