MPs urged to support tougher action on assaults of retail staff

Helen Dickinson

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) has added its voice to the growing clamour to stiffen up legislation to protect shopworkers from violence, with the launch of a Shopworkers’ Protection Pledge.

Eleven cross-party MPs put their name to the pledge when it launched yesterday (2 September) and the BRC is calling for more to sign up.

Signatories agree that as elected MPs, they have a duty to protect retail workers, ensuring that those who assault shop staff face the full force of the law.

The launch follows that of a fast-growing parliamentary petition by Paddy Lillis, leader of the Usdaw shopworkers’ trade union. The petition – backed by Co-op Food, the BRC and ACS – has attracted over 59,000 names to date; Usdaw continues to campaign for the 100,000 signatures that should trigger a parliamentary debate.

BRC Chief Executive Helen Dickinson (pictured) said: “Every day, hundreds of hard-working retail colleagues are subjected to violence or abuse in their place of work. These incidents can leave physical and emotional scars, and affect not only the victim, but also their families, colleagues, and communities.

“Sadly, the legislation meant to protect these workers is not fit for purpose, and many of these heinous crimes continue to go unpunished. These incidents have multiplied during the pandemic, which is why we are now calling on MPs from all parties to come together and sign the Shopworkers’ Protection Pledge.

“On behalf of the three million people who work in retail, their families, and their communities, there is one simple message – doing nothing is not an option.”