The Institute of Customer Service survey of over 1,100 workers, including those in shops and call centres, suggested that half do not report incidents of abuse and hostility mainly because workers did not believe it would make a difference, or incidents happen too regularly to be worth reporting.
Almost half of respondents said they have suffered hostility in the past year, similar to the levels seen in January 2021 when the country was in lockdown. Nearly one in four fear customer hostility will get more challenging in the next six months amid the cost-of-living crisis and energy price rises.
Paddy Lillis – Usdaw General Secretary says:
“The scale of abuse of shopworkers remains shocking, as evidenced by the Institute of Customer Service and our own surveys. Worryingly we both found that around half of workers are not confident that reporting violence, threats and abuse will make any difference.
“The new protection of workers law in Scotland and the UK Government’s move to toughen sentencing for those who assault workers in England and Wales are welcome, after years of resistance. We are closely monitoring the effectiveness of these initiatives and, along with retailers and the police, promoting these new legal protections. Importantly we are encouraging members to report incidents. Our message is clear, report it to sort it.
“Faced with such appallingly high levels of abuse and so many shopworkers lacking confidence in the system providing the protection they need, the Government must ensure that retail employers, police and the courts work together to make workplaces safer.”
Notes for editors:
Usdaw (Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers)
is the UK's fifth biggest trade union with around 360,000 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.
Usdaw annual survey
of nearly 3,500 retail staff shows that in the last twelve months: 90% have experienced verbal abuse; 64% were threatened by a customer; 12% were assaulted, and 61% said they were not confident that reporting abuse, threats and violence will make a difference. Full results: www.usdaw.org.uk/FFFsurvey2021
Amendment 84 to the Police, Crime Sentencing and Courts Bill – Lords Hansard 15 December 2021: https://hansard.parliament.uk/lords/2021-12-15/debates/28547EAD-5F85-4D84-AC8E-1A19CC359B20/PoliceCrimeSentencingAndCourtsBill#contribution-8416AF16-070D-409D-B0EC-0C373BC7A3F3
For Usdaw press releases visit: http://www.usdaw.org.uk/news
and you can follow us on Twitter @UsdawUnion