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Scottish protection of shopworkers law must continue to encourage incidents of abuse to be reported says Usdaw

Date: 10 January 2022 Almost 300 cases of abuse against shop workers in Scotland were reported to police in the first three months of a law designed to protect them. The Protection of Workers Act came into force in August last year and figures from the Scottish Business Resilience Centre show 285 incidents of abuse or threats were reported to police by the end of November. The new law made it a specific offence to threaten or abuse retail staff.
Paddy Lillis – Usdaw General Secretary says: “Usdaw’s message to members has long been ‘Report it to sort it’, so we welcome that the new law in Scotland is encouraging reporting. However, it is a disgrace that retail staff are still suffering too many incidents of violence, threats and abuse from a significant minority of customers and we continue to urge the shopping public to respect shopworkers.
 
“Retail staff have been on the frontline throughout the coronavirus crisis, helping to keep our communities fed, despite the risks of contracting the virus. It has been a terrible year for our members, with over 90% of shopworkers suffering abuse, more than two-thirds threatened and one in seven assaulted. We are saying loud and clear that enough is enough, abuse should never be part of the job.
 
“We need the Scottish Government, police and retailers to continue to promote the new law. We want the public to understand that assaulting and abusing shopworkers is totally unacceptable and will land them with stiffer penalties. The protection of shopworkers legislation in Scotland should result in retail staff getting the respect they deserve.”
 
Notes for editors:
 
Usdaw (Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers) is the UK's fifth biggest trade union with over 370,000 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.
 
Interim results of the Usdaw’s 2021 survey, based on 3,464 responses, show that: 89.26% were verbally abused, 64.46% were threatened. 21.59% shopworkers had been assaulted during their career. 10.82% had been assaulted this year.
 
Usdaw’s Freedom from Fear Campaign seeks to prevent violence, threats and abuse against workers by engaging the public, shopworkers and the Government. www.usdaw.org.uk/Campaigns/Freedom-From-Fear
 
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