Retail trade union Usdaw has welcomed today’s unanimous vote in the Scottish Parliament for a ground-breaking law to protect shopworkers. This follows a long campaign by the union for new legislation to tackle growing violence, threats and abuse against retail staff.

The Protection of Workers (Retail and Age-restricted Goods and Services) (Scotland) Bill was successfully steered through the Scottish Parliament by Daniel Johnson MSP (Labour, Edinburgh Southern).

Stewart Forrest, Usdaw’s Scottish Divisional Officer says:
“We are grateful for the support of MSPs and congratulate Daniel Johnson MSP on securing ground-breaking legislation to protect shopworkers from violence, threats and abuse. We hope the UK Government will now follow suit to protect shopworkers in the rest of the UK.

“Retail staff have been on the frontline throughout the coronavirus crisis, helping to keep our communities fed, despite the risks of contracting the virus. Yesterday the final results of our 2020 survey showed that 9 in 10 shopworkers had been abused last year. This new law firmly backs up Usdaw’s clear message that abuse is not part of the job.

“We are now looking to work with the Scottish Government, police and retailers to promote the new law. We want criminals to understand that assaulting and abusing shopworkers is unacceptable and will land them with a stiffer sentence. Our hope is that this new legislation will result in retail staff getting the respect they deserve.”

Paddy Lillis, Usdaw General Secretary says:
“The Scottish Parliament is leading the way on protection of shopworkers by passing this Bill. It is a great result for our members in Scotland, who will now have the protection of the law that they deserve. We are grateful to Daniel Johnson for steering this important legislation through the Parliament.

“We have been deeply disappointed with the UK Government’s response to our campaign, offering little more than sympathy and their objecting to protection of shopworkers legislation. So we are looking for MPs to support key workers across the retail sector and help turn around the UK Government’s opposition.”

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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