Abuse of shopworkers increased during pandemic, survey finds

Abuse of shopworkers increased during pandemic, survey finds
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.
// 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.


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

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  1. This is disgusting. The public who do this should be banned from the shop and made an example of by going to court. Nobody has even acknowledged at all that the shop workers are on the front line too. They get insulted and abused by customers as well as physically assaulted. And none of it is their fault at all. Yes the Nurses seal with the public. But they are far to ill to treat them in this way. Whereas people who enter shops are obviously fit and able and are behaving worse than any wild animals I can mention. The shop workers have been open throughout the whole of this pandemic. And have been treated like dirt by no end of irate customers who are completely selfish and disgustingly nasty. How can the staff be blamed for what isn’t left on the shelves. To be honest these people are lucky to be able to still purchase any items at all when the shop workers have no idea who they are nor where they come from yet constantly keep at their jobs not only putting their lives at risk by working on the front line. But also under alot more stressful and frightening circumstances due to the public threatening, abusing and assaulting them whilst working. All customers who behave this way should be prosecuted and made to never return to these shops. They are just total selfish morons who are too ignorant to care about anybody else. The shop workers have gone through Hell through all of this and not one person has bothered about them. Some have even nearly been pushed into a breakdown due to the stress they have had to endure. It is absolutely disgusting. And no I am not a shop worker myself but I do have friends and know. People who are. Their lives have been made hell by the behaviour of disgusting customers. And not only have they been at risk of catching the Virus from some of these people but they have had to go to work everyday in fear of what could happen to them if an Irate customer turns up each day. Yes these workers are also on the front line too. But dealing with the fit and nasty people on the other side of this Virus. You all clapped for the Nurses but what about the workers who continually get abused out there by fir and well selfish people. Its not just the Nurses who deserve being clapped for the shop workers need some praise as well. And they deserve a good pay rise too. They have gone through hell having to work in these shops everyday in fear. And it’s disgusting that these people get pittance pay for such an awful and disgusting atmosphere they have to work in. All due to ignorant, uncaring and selfish customers who choose to vent their anger out on innocent people. They should be ashamed of themselves. And start realising that we’re it not for these shop workers they wouldn’t even be getting any food or items at all. It’s them and the Nurses who have kept this country going. And it’s about time the public acknowledged that. And gave them the respect they deserve. I hope whoever treats these people with hostility end up feeling properly and rightly ashamed of themselves. They are disgusting and a let down to our society.


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