John Hannett, General Secretary of shopworkers union Usdaw, has revealed the results of the union’s Freedom From Fear survey, which tracks the levels of violence, threats and abuse against shopworkers.
In a survey of over 5,000 retail staff from across the UK, the results have shown that in the last 12 months on average 241 shopworkers were assaulted every day. The survey also reveals that 33% of shopworkers were threatened by customers and over half were verbally abused.
Hannett said: “Our survey shows that life on the frontline of retail can be pretty tough for many shopworkers and there is still a lot to do to help protect them.
“We have released our survey results on the same day that the British Retail Consortium has published their Retail Crime Survey. Both show the levels of offences have remained pretty steady from last year, which is little comfort for our members on the receiving end of violence and abuse. A worrying aspect of the BRC report is the increase in the value of shop theft, because all too often these incidents can lead to the criminal assaulting or abusing of shop staff.
Hannett called for action to protect retail staff, and highlighted the Government’s repeated failure to pass legislation that would provide stiffer penalties for those who assault shopworkers.
He concluded: “It is time for the Government to act. Crime in shops remains steady and is not coming down in line with overall levels of crime. Retail staff have a crucial role in our communities and that role must be valued and respected.”