Toby Perkins, MP for Chesterfield, has joined calls for action to protect shopworkers and retail staff from violence and abuse.
A recent study by the British Retail Consortium (BRC) shows that the human cost of retail crime is growing, with a 40% increase in offences involving abuse or violence against shopworkers; rising
from 41 to 51 per 1,000 shopworkers during 2016. And a survey by the retail workers’ union, Usdaw, showed that 8% of shopworkers had been assaulted in the last year, half had been verbally abused and almost a third had been threatened with violence.
Toby said, “Just last week there was an armed robbery at the Co-op in nearby Whitwell, a terrifying ordeal for the staff on duty. Luckily, this type of incident is rare, but every day across the country shopworkers have to deal with verbal abuse, shoplifters, and threats of violence. I am calling on the Government to commit to stiffer sentences for those who assault retail staff”
Toby recently joined USDAW members and staff at the Tesco on Lockoford Lane to promote the union’s ‘Freedom from Fear’ campaign, which seeks to prevent violence, threats and abuse against workers.
The main aims of the campaign are:
- Negotiate with employers for safety and security improvements in stores.
- Campaign for Government to ensure that their policies and actions help tackle retail crime and anti-social behaviour in shopping areas.
- Raise awareness with the shopping public that violence, threats and abuse against workers is unacceptable behaviour.
- Give workers the confidence to speak out and not accept abuse as just a part of the job.
Toby added, “I am proud to support Usdaw’s ‘Freedom from Fear’ campaign and will do all I can to help protect our retail workers from threats, violence and abuse in the workplace. Retail staff are an important part of our communities and our economy, they should be valued and respected.”