// Focus of triggers for abuse against shopworkers changed due to Covid-19 – study
// Enforcing social distancing or face coverings are now the biggest triggers for abuse against shopworkers
// Incidents of assaults, threats and abuse have doubled since the pandemic started
Enforcing social distancing and the wearing of face coverings are now the biggest triggers for abuse against shopworkers rather than thefts or age identification, a new study suggests.
The shopworkers union Usdaw said a survey of 2200 of its members showed that the focus for flashpoints had changed because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The union has launched a petition calling for legislation to protect workers after revealing that incidents of assaults, threats and abuse have doubled since the pandemic started.
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Issues blamed for abuse of staff included enforcing social distancing, queuing, face coverings and limiting sales.
“Yet another Usdaw survey shows that some people have responded to an appalling national pandemic, which has severely impacted everyone’s lives, by abusing shop workers,” Usdaw general secretary Paddy Lillis said.
“At a time when we should all be working together to get through this crisis, it is a disgrace that staff working to keep food on the shelves and the shop safe for customers are being abused.
“We were deeply disappointed by the government’s response to our petition, offering little more than sympathy.
“I urge the government to listen to the voices of shopworkers and legislate for stiffer penalties for those who assault workers.
“We need a simple standalone offence that is widely recognised and understood by the public, police, CPS, the judiciary and most importantly criminals.”
with PA Wires