Shopworker protection law passes key Holyrood vote

Scottish Parliament

The proposed Protection of Workers Bill cleared a crucial hurdle in the Scottish Parliament today (24 September) when MSPs voted it through Stage 1 of the legislative process, thereby accepting its general principles.

The Bill now faces a further two more legislative stages before it can be made law.

Daniel Johnson, the MSP for Edinburgh Southern who proposed the Bill, said “it was encouraging to see all parties get behind this important issue”.

He added: “With further Covid restrictions just announced for the country, we will see more pressure on our retail staff, especially with an uncertain Christmas on the horizon.

“I look forward to working with other political parties and key stakeholders to ensure it passes the remaining parliamentary stages and becomes law, in order to afford retail workers the protection they deserve under the law.”

Johnson also thanked the Scottish Grocers’ Federation (SGF), which has been a long-time and staunch supporter of the proposed new law, which would give shop staff additional legal protection when carrying out their work, particularly in relation to assault or abuse in relation to a mandatory activity such as requesting ID for age-restricted products.

SGF enthusiastically welcomed the result of today’s vote. CEO Pete Cheema said: “We are delighted that MSPs have voted to accept the general principles of the Protection of Workers Bill. This is a significant step forward in the right direction and it is crucial that we continue to get the message across to our politicians that abuse and threatening behaviour towards shop staff is unacceptable and that suitable additional legal protections must be put in place.

“Daniel Johnson’s Bill provides that opportunity and we will continue to work with him – as we have been doing since 2016 – to secure a step-change in Scotland’s approach to retail crime.”