A parliamentary petition that seeks to protect retail staff from violence, threats and abuse has passed 80,000 signatures following the annual Respect for Shopworkers Week. Usdaw continues to campaign for 100,000 signatures that should trigger a parliamentary debate.

The petition is backed by 23 major retailers and the industry’s leading trade bodies, with research by the Co-op showing its aims have public support as well. Launched by shopworkers’ trade union leader Paddy Lillis, it can be signed at https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/328621

Paddy Lillis, Usdaw General Secretary says: 
“Respect for Shopworkers Week is our opportunity to publicise Usdaw’s year round Freedom From Fear campaign, which seeks to prevent violence, threats and abuse against shopworkers. I am grateful to our reps and activists who added over 10,000 signatures to the petition during the week. This is a hugely important issue for our members. With incidents of abuse doubling during the Covid-19 crisis, they are saying loud and clear that enough is enough, abuse should never be just a part of the job.

“We welcome employer support for the petition and it is clear that the public are also on board, with a Co-op survey finding that over 80% say abuse of shopworkers is unacceptable and want greater sentencing for offenders. When the shopping public, retailers and the trade union for shopworkers unite in a call for action, it should be time for the Government to sit up, listen to our concerns and deliver much needed protection for staff.

“We were deeply disappointed by the Government’s response to the petition, offering little more than sympathy, and they objected to the Alex Norris protection of shopworkers bill in the House of Commons. So we continue to campaign for the 100,000 signatures needed to trigger a parliamentary debate. Retail staff have a crucial role in our communities and that role must be valued and respected, they deserve the protection of the law.”

Usdaw (Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers)is the UK’s fifth biggest trade union with over 400,000 members. Membership has increased by more than one-third over the last couple of decades. Most Usdaw members work in the retail sector, but the union also has many members in transport, distribution, food manufacturing, chemicals and other trades.

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