// Shopfloor staff on average are abused, threatened or assaulted once a fortnight, says Usdaw
// 41% of shopworkers have been threatened by customers while 2/3 have been verbally abused
// 5% of staff have been assaulted – which is equivalent to 400 assaults per day
Retail shop floor staff are verbally abused, threatened or assaulted more than 21 times per year on average – or once a fortnight – according to a survey from a trade union.
Usdaw’s annual Freedom From Fear survey – which is part of its Respect for Shopworkers Week campaign launched this week – found that nearly two-thirds of shopworkers have been verbally abused at work.
Meanwhile, 41 per cent of shop floor staff have been threatened by a customer and nearly five per cent of staff have also been assaulted at work – which amounts to around 400 assaults every day across all shopworkers.
Over 4000 retail staff took part in Usdaw’s survey, as part of the wider campaign’s goal to prevent verbal abuse, threats and violent attacks against retail staff.
“Violence, threats and abuse against workers continue to increase,” Usdaw general secretary Paddy Lillis said.
“The statistics are shocking and show that urgent action is required. Many UK workers are on the front line of dealing with the public and that can mean they end up on the wrong side of a verbal or physical assault.
“We have consistently demonstrated the full extent of violence, threats and abuse against shopworkers. Five months ago, we and the retail employers responded to the Home Office ‘call for evidence’ and with one voice when we jointly called for action to tackle this growing problem.
“So we were disappointed to hear on the final day of parliament that the government is still analysing the evidence received, has not yet published their response and is still considering next steps.
“This continued delay is extremely concerning for our members; Usdaw has been calling for action for many years. Even in the time since the Home Office ‘call for evidence’ closed, the Association of Convenience Stores has revealed that there have been an estimated 200,000 assaults and threats against retail and wholesale staff.
“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 standalone offence that is widely recognised and understood by the public, police, courts and most importantly criminals.”
Usdaw’s campaign is supported by the Co-op, which launched its own Safer Colleagues, Safer Communities initiative last year.