Gareth Hughes, Co-Op Area Manager, Jim O’Neil, Usdaw Rep, Rosie Cooper, MP for West Lancashire and Brigette, Westgate Store Manager
Gareth Hughes, Co-Op Area Manager, Jim O’Neil, Usdaw Rep, Rosie Cooper, MP for West Lancashire and Brigette, Westgate Store Manager

As part of the Co-op’s Safer Colleagues, Safer Communities campaign, Rosie Cooper MP recently visited the Co-op Food store in Westgate, Skelmersdale to offer her support to keyworkers in the supermarket sector.  

Sadly, the pandemic has seen a sharp upswing in violence or harassment against shopworkers, with evidence suggesting there are hundreds of incidents a day across the country. In response, the USDAW union has launched the Respect for Shopworkers Week campaign to raise awareness of the unacceptable threats and abuse faced by retail workers.   

Rosie Cooper MP commented,  
“It was a pleasure to visit the Westgate Co-op branch recently to meet the hardworking team and hear about the work they have been doing and the issues they face.  

“The pandemic has made an already challenging job harder, as shopworkers were often asked to be the referees of one-way systems, capacity restrictions and face coverings. This has led to an unacceptable spike in attacks on retail workers.  

“I supported amendments to the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill which would have toughened up the laws against abuse of shopworkers. I continue to encourage the government to take up these proposals.   

“In the meantime, large retailers have a duty to protect their staff while they are at work. Supermarkets should regularly consult with staff and their union representatives to ensure they feel safe at work, and take steps like improvements to CCTV or the provision of a security guard if they do not.” 

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