Protection of Workers Bill lodged with Scottish Parliament

Daniel Johnson MSP

Scottish Grocers Federation has welcomed a “once-in-a- generation opportunity” to create a safer working environment for retailers.

Daniel Johnson MSP (pictured) has today (11 October 2019) formally lodged his Private Members Bill to the Scottish Parliament, marking the beginning of the three-stage scrutiny process.

The Bill would create a separate offence and a statutory aggravation for the assault and impediment of a retail worker carrying out age-restricted sales. The Bill would be similar in scope and rationale to the Emergency Workers (Scotland) Bill that safeguards staff of the emergency services in their duties.

Currently, workers dealing with age-restricted sales are personally liable for upholding the law, but do not receive the same level of protection as other professions, such as police officers, border staff and tax collectors. The bill as drafted would also extend to non-retail staff such as delivery drivers and those working in hotels. After a lengthy consultation and with cross-party support, the Bill will now be scrutinised by one of the Committees of the Scottish Parliament before a final vote by MSPs.

Launching the Bill, Johnson met with staff in an Edinburgh Scotmid store along with the SGF.

He commented: “I am delighted to see my bill formally lodged in the Scottish Parliament today, it marks the start of the process of parliamentary scrutiny and the prospect of bringing legal protection for retail workers that the growing evidence of violence and abuse makes clear is needed.

“Abuse and threatening behaviour should not be part of the job, and with the busy Christmas shopping season fast approaching it is now more important than ever that this is recognised.

“I believe this bill will secure the rights of all those who feel threatened at their place of work and will make it clear that such behaviour will not and should not be tolerated. Everyone has a right to feel safe at work wherever they work.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank USDAW, the SGF and all those other trade Unions and organisations that have worked with me and look forward to speaking with Parliamentary colleagues as the bill makes its way through the necessary Parliamentary stages.”

SGF Chief Executive Pete Cheema thanked Johnson on behalf of Scotland’s 5,000 convenience stores.

He added: ““As we have said strongly and consistently: this represents a once-in-a-generation opportunity to create a safer environment for retailers, customers and communities. We will do everything we can to encourage MSPs to support the Bill. Whatever happens with the Bill we believe this marks a step-change in Scotland’s approach to retail crime.”