Posted: Thu 3rd Mar 2022

“Record levels” of violence and abuse experienced by shop workers across Wales

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Thursday, Mar 3rd, 2022

“Record levels” of violence and abuse have been experienced by shop workers throughout the covid-19 pandemic, a new report has revealed.

Retail trade union Usdaw has today published shocking statistics from their annual survey of nearly 3,500 retail staff, which show that in the last twelve months.

It found that 9 out of 10 workers reported verbal abuse. 64 per cent received threats of violence and 12 per were physically assaulted during the year.

61 per cent said they were not confident that reporting abuse, threats and violence will make a difference.

This is compared to 2020 when the figures were 89 per cent abused, 60 per cent threatened and nine per cent were physically attacked.

The survey found that women were more likely to be the target of verbal abuse – 92 per cent compared to 88 per cent of men.

However men were significantly more likely to be physically assaulted – 17 per cent against 10 per cent of women.

Some of the abuse faced includes intimidation, threatened with a knife, being rammed into with trolleys, racial abuse, sexual harassment and being called useless when trying to explain to a customer that she hadn’t been double charged.

Throughout the pandemic shop workers also faced verbal abuse over mask guidance and social distancing, however this was more prominent during 2020.

However the survey found that shop workers were attacked and abused both by people who refused to wear face coverings and by others who thought that stores should be doing more to enforce the wearing of face coverings.

Other triggers for violence and abuse included shoplifters, lack of stock and age restricted sales.

Other triggers for

In terms of how shop workers could be supported more in their jobs 26 per cent said more management support, 26 per cent wanted to ban offenders and 18 per cent wanted security staff.

Other suggestions included more staff, police involvement and the use of body worn cameras.

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.

“9 in 10 are suffering abuse from customers, with far too many experiencing threats and violence.

“Particularly concerning is the one-third increase in assaults, up from nine per cent in 2020 to 12 per cent in 2021. So it is extremely worrying that nearly two-thirds are not confident that reporting these issues will make any difference.

“Violence and abuse is not an acceptable part of the job and it is truly horrific that shopworkers are having to face it on a daily basis.

“Faced with such appallingly high levels of violence and abuse, and with shopworkers’ almost complete lack of confidence in the ability of the system to give them the protection they need, much more needs to be done.

“There must be better co-ordination to ensure that retail employers, police and the courts work together to make stores safe places for our members to work and for customers to shop.”

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