Shopworkers’ trade union Usdaw calls for action on workplace safety following Suzy Lamplugh Trust survey.

The figures were released ahead of Usdaw’s annual Respect for Shopworkers’ Week, running 12-18 November. On Monday Usdaw will launch the week of campaigning by publishing interim results of their 2018 survey of violence, threats and abuse against shopworkers.

Suzy Lamplugh Trust surveyed over 1,000 retail workers about their personal safety at work and 66% of respondents stated that they had experienced violence or aggression in the workplace. Of those who gave details about their experiences, 83% reported receiving verbal abuse, but there were also a high incidence of other types of violence and aggression, including physical assault, verbal harassment, verbal threats and bullying.

Paddy Lillis – Usdaw General Secretary says: “These survey results lay bare the significant issues our members have to deal with on the frontline of retail, where all too often they can face violence threats and abuse. We worked with the Trust to promote the survey and we continue to urge employers to work with trade union health and safety reps to make their workplaces safer.

“During Usdaw’s respect week, over 1,000 events will take place across the country where our members working in retail will be urging the shopping public to show respect to shopworkers. We also work extensively with retail employers on improving safety standards and welcome their support for our campaign.

“There is much that the Government can do to help tackle these issues, like better policing and stiffer sentences for those who assault shopworkers. They could act immediately by accepting a protection of shopworkers amendment to their Offensive Weapons Bill, which will make it a specific offence to obstruct a shopworker who is preventing the illegal sale of knives and corrosive substances.

“Shopworkers are at the centre of our communities. Their role should be valued, they deserve our respect, but most of all they deserve the protection of the law.”

Usdaw (Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers) is the UK's fifth biggest and the fastest growing trade union with around 430,000 members. Membership has increased by more than 28% over the decade. Most Usdaw members work in the retail sector, but the union also has many members in transport, distribution, food manufacturing, chemicals and other trades.