Friends and colleagues: support the Protection of Workers consultation

Antony Begley

Let’s face it, if you work in a shop in Scotland you already know that abuse, threats and violence are an everyday occurrence.

It’s been that way for as long as any of us can remember and the saddest fact of all is that it has almost become normalised. It happens so often and the authorities have long shown so little interest in dealing with it that most of the time retailers don’t even bother reporting it. Can you think of any other jobs – possibly bouncers outside pubs – where staff can fully expect to be abused and debased as part of their working lives?

It’s time that this sorry state of affairs was put right – and that’s why I’m urging every retailer in Scotland to support MSP Daniel Johnson’s ground-breaking consultation into creating new Protection of Workers legislation that will help protect shopworkers under the law. This is truly a once-in-a-generation opportunity for retailers to have their say and make sure that the Scottish Parliament understands the scale and nature of the problem.

To have your say, simply visit and record your own experiences. And I’m guessing that there will not be a single retailer out there that doesn’t have a relevant and often harrowing story to tell. From my own experiences at Woodlands Local, at least half a dozen incidents immediately spring to mind.

Johnson, supported by the SGF, has done a lot of work getting the Bill to this stage. Now it’s up to us to help get it over the line and into law.

The SGF Crime Seminar at Tulliallan Police College in Kincardine recently saw the launch of the annual Scottish Crime Report. It makes for some pretty distressing reading: 99% of respondents reported incidents of violence and physical abuse in-store during 2017. The biggest catalyst for these incidences was around refusal of sales or requesting ID on age-restricted products.

The logic here is pretty simple. If retailers are the ones required to do the front-line policing of age-restricted sales, the very least that they deserve is some protection under the law. We all know that demanding ID or refusing sales can easily lead to uncomfortable situations and worse. There isn’t a retailer in Scotland who hasn’t experienced that first-hand.

Let’s do ourselves a favour and help Daniel Johnson get this Bill into law. Don’t put it off. Do it now. Go open your PC and take a few minutes to record your experiences at You’ll be doing yourself, your staff and all of your industry colleagues a big favour. It’s time we spoke as one on this and it’s time we made our voices heard.

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Antony Begley, Publishing Director