More than 70% of North Wales shop workers have been abused by customers
Shop workers across north Wales are being threatened with violence and verbal abuse from customers, a new survey has revealed.
Retail union Usdaw has released shocking interim statistics from their annual survey of over 4,600 retail staff, which show that in the last twelve months the abuse being faced by staff has increased.
It found that 71 per cent of staff have experienced verbal abuse in the last year and 48 per cent have been threatened by a customer.
Five per cent have been physically assaulted by a customer.
This includes retail workers in north Wales, with one saying that they had been threatened by someone under the influence of alcohol and nearly head-butted by a shoplifter.
Another was abused by a customer after being asked to wear a mask while a third had a full bottle of water thrown at them.
Just 45 per cent of shop workers said that they were not confident that reporting abuse, threats and violence will make a difference.
20 per cent of those who were assaulted did not report the incident.
Paddy Lillis – Usdaw General Secretary says: “It is heart-breaking to hear these testimonies from Welsh shopworkers who deserve far more respect than they receive.
“Our latest survey results clearly show the scale of the appalling violence, threats and abuse faced by shopworkers.
“It is shocking that over 7 in 10 of our members working in retail are suffering abuse from customers, with far too many experiencing threats and violence. While some triggers have been removed, such as face masks and social distancing; the levels of abuse remain higher than before the pandemic.
“Violence and abuse is not an acceptable part of the job. Worryingly 1 in 5 who suffered a physical assault did not report the incident and nearly half of shopworkers are not confident that reporting these issues will make any difference. Our message shopworkers is clear, ‘report it to sort it’.
“Having secured new protection of workers laws in Holyrood and Westminster, there is still much more to do.
“The Government must provide the co-ordination needed to ensure that retail employers, police and the courts work together to make stores safer places for our members to work.”
Monday saw the start of the 2022 Respect for Shopworkers Week, marking 20 years of USDAW’s Freedom from Fear campaign.
Jack Sargeant MS has given his support to the campaign, which works to prevent violence, threats and abuse against workers.
The Alyn and Deeside MS said: “Abuse should never be part of the job and retail workers should be given the respect they deserve. I would urge all shoppers to think about how they behave and speak to others, particularly as we enter the busy Christmas period.
“I would also like to encourage retail workers to report abuse wherever they see it and remind them that the best way to protect yourself at work is to join a Union. If you aren’t a member already, head to the TUC website to find out which trade union is best for you.”
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