// New survey finds that 3/4 retail staff said levels of abuse had increased during the pandemic
// Virtually all those questioned said they had experienced verbal abuse, and more than half had been threatened
// Meanwhile, 1 in 10 said they had been outright assaulted
Customer abuse against shopworkers has been worse during the Covid-19 pandemic, with some staff being physically assaulted, according to a new report.
Three out of four retail staff surveyed by Usdaw said levels of abuse had increased during the pandemic.
Virtually all those questioned said they had experienced verbal abuse, more than half had been threatened and one in 10 had been outright assaulted.
- Government urged to “investigate growing problem” of crime against shopworkers
- Study reveals change in triggers for abuse against shopworkers during Covid
- Shopworkers need same level of crime protection as emergency workers, BRC says
Shopworkers’ union Usdaw said it would step up its campaign for a new law to protect shopworkers, which has already been backed by 70,000 members of the public.
“Yet another Usdaw survey shows that some people have responded to this appalling pandemic by abusing shopworkers,” Usdaw general secretary Paddy Lillis said.
“At a time when we should all be working together to get through this national crisis, it is a disgrace that staff working to keep food on the shelves are being abused.
“Action to protect shopworkers is needed and that is why we have launched a petition, which now has over 70,000 signatures.
“We were deeply disappointed by the government’s response to the petition, offering little more than sympathy, so we continue to campaign for the 100,000 signatures needed to trigger a parliamentary debate.
“This is a hugely important issue for our members. Shopworkers are saying loud and clear that enough is enough, abuse should never be just a part of the job.
“Retail staff have a crucial role in our communities and that role must be valued and respected, they deserve the protection of the law.”
Comments from shopworkers responding to the survey included:
– “Asked a customer to join the back of a queue, got verbal abuse. She then returned to the store with a knife and said she was going to cut me up.”
– “Physically pushed, shoved, trolley rammed during panic buying.”
– “Being screamed at when telling customers we don’t have an item in stock.”
– “I had members of the public cough on me as I was stacking shelves.”
– “My car was keyed by a customer who was barred from the shop.”
– “Since the pandemic I’ve had abuse nearly every day, even coughed on twice.”
with PA Wires