Welsh shopworkers speak out about violence, threats and abuse faced during the pandemic
Over 90 per cent of retail workers in Wales have experienced some form of verbal abuse during the last 12 months.
Figures released today by retail trade union Usdaw shows the extent of the violence, threats and abuse shopworkers have experienced during the pandemic.
Preliminary results from the union’s annual survey of nearly 2,000 retail staff across the UK show that in the last twelve months:
- 92 per cent have experienced verbal abuse,
- 70 per cent were threatened by a customer,
- 14 per cent were assaulted.
- One in five victims have never reported an incident to their employer, including 5% who had been assaulted.
In North Wales one worker spoke of the verbal abuse from customers, rudeness and one physical attack, while another gets flashbacks from being robbed at knifepoint a few years ago.
Other experiences by Welsh retail staff include being abused about facemasks, sworn at, threats when asked to follow the coronavirus guidelines, sexual harassment and racial and physical abuse.
The union has launched a Freedom from Fear summer campaign week from 22-29 August and has called for a new protection of workers law
Paddy Lillis, Usdaw General Secretary said: “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 and demonstrate the need for a ‘protection of shopworkers’ law.
“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. At a time when we should all be working together to get through this crisis, it is a disgrace that staff working to keep food on the shelves and the shop safe for customers are being abused. Action to protect shop workers is needed.
“Today a new protection of shopworkers law comes into force in Scotland, but we are deeply disappointed that the UK Government has continued to resist a similar measure in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
“Retail staff across the UK have a crucial role in our communities and that role must be valued and respected, they deserve the protection of the law.
“This is a hugely important issue for our members. They are deeply concerned that the current high levels of abuse will become the norm, unless the Government takes urgent and meaningful action. Shopworkers are saying loud and clear that enough is enough.
“The Government has promised to bring forward an amendment to their flagship policing bill in the House of Lords and we urge them to keep their word.” Spotted something? Got a story? Send a Facebook Message | A direct message on Twitter | Email: News@Deeside.com