MSPs quiz Johnson over proposed shopworker protection law

Daniel Johnson

Members of Holyrood’s Economy, Energy and Fair Work Committee heard evidence from fellow MSP Daniel Johnson yesterday (13 May) and questioned him about his proposed Protection of Shopworkers Bill.

The Bill – which would make it a specific offence to threaten, assault or abuse shopworkers – is currently at the first of three stages it must pass through before becoming law.

Shopworkers trade union Usdaw welcomed the committee’s scrutiny of the Bill and called for it to progress to Stage 2.

The union’s Scottish Divisional Officer Stewart Forrest said it was clear from the meeting that there is strong support for the intentions of the Bill, albeit with questions about the details.

He said: “We would welcome the Bill progressing to the next stages of the legislative process when amendments can be fully considered.”

According to an Usdaw survey, incidents of abuse, threats and violence against shop staff have doubled during the coronavirus outbreak.

Forrest said: “Abuse of shopworkers is not a problem confined to these times of crisis and, in our view, the current legal provisions do not sufficiently protect them. The Scottish Government has indicated they too support the intentions of the Bill and will engage in the details of it. We hope that will lead to a change in the law to better protect shopworkers.”