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Keir Starmer praises Usdaw's Freedom From Fear campaign - we now need the Government to back a protection of shopworkers law

Date: 14 September 2021 Retail trade union leader Paddy Lillis has welcomed Keir Starmer highlighting the union’s ‘Freedom from Fear’ campaign, which seeks to protect shopworkers from violence, threats and abuse. The Labour leader today praised the campaign in his keynote speech to the annual Trades Union Congress.
In praising key workers and their trade unions for all they did to help the nation through the pandemic, the Labour leader said: “I particularly want to pay tribute to Usdaw's ‘Freedom from Fear' campaign against violence and abuse towards shopworkers. Having spoken to many shopworkers over the last 18 months I am in no doubt how important that campaign is to them.”
 
Yesterday the Usdaw General Secretary wrote to the Prime Minister urging him to step in, reverse their past opposition and support a protection of shopworkers amendment to their flagship crime bill, which has its second reading in the House of Lords today.
 
Paddy Lillis – Usdaw General Secretary says: “We very much welcome Keir Starmer’s recognition of our campaign to protect shopworkers, which follows consistent support from Labour in Parliament for trying to achieve a change in the law. Today the Government has a chance to reverse their past opposition by introducing an amendment to their policing bill, as Ministers promised in the House of Commons.
 
“We urge the Government to keep to their word and ensure that the measure they bring forward is substantial and delivers much needed protections. When retail employers, leading retail bodies, the Home Affairs Select Committee and the shopworkers’ trade union jointly call for legislation, it is time for the Government to listen.
 
“In Scotland, MSPs voted through a new ground-breaking law to give shopworkers the protection they deserve, which came into force last month. We are now looking for the House of Lords to similarly support key workers across the retail sector, who regularly suffer violence and abuse.”
 
Notes for editors:
 
Usdaw (Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers) is the UK's fifth biggest trade union with over 380,000 members. Most Usdaw members work in the retail sector, but the union also has many members in transport, distribution, food manufacturing, chemical industry and other trades.
 
Letter to the Prime Minister: www.usdaw.org.uk/FFFletterPM
 
Preliminary results of the Usdaw’s 2021 survey, based on 1,966 responses, show that in 2020 so far: 92.17% were verbally abused, 70.14% were threatened. 25.13% shopworkers had been assaulted during their career. 14.04% had been assaulted this year. The final results of the survey will be published in the New Year.
 
Protection of Workers (Retail and Age-restricted Goods and Services) (Scotland) Act 2021: https://www.legislation.gov.uk/asp/2021/6
 
For Usdaw press releases visit: http://www.usdaw.org.uk/news and you can follow us on Twitter @UsdawUnion

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The official website of the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers