Home > News > Articles & speeches > MP backs Usdaw Freedom from Fear Campaign

I expect you’ve seen it yourself: some disgruntled shopper giving a cashier a hard time at the checkout. Shopworkers deserve respect and we must do more to help them do their job safely. That’s why I am backing Usdaw, the shop workers’ union in their Freedom from Fear campaign, calling for respect for retail workers. A recent survey by Usdaw shows that over one million shopworkers have been assaulted, threatened or verbally abused in the last twelve months.
The survey shows that in the past 12 months, 6% of shopworkers were subjected to violent attack, 37% were threatened with harm and a massive 70% had suffered verbal abuse. About 50% of incidents of abuse are as a result of selling age-restricted products, like alcohol, cigarettes, aerosols, etc.
Age restricted sales is an issue of real concern to our shop workers. If they make a mistake and serve somebody under-18 they risk being prosecuted. But asking for age identification can lead to abuse from customers who get frustrated and a refusal to serve can be a real flashpoint for threats or even violence. That’s why we are asking the shopping public to show respect and understand that the shopworkers are only obeying the law.
The Freedom from Fear Campaign seeks to prevent violence, threats and abuse against shopworkers
As well as raising awareness with the shopping public that violence, threats and abuse against shopworkers are unacceptable, the campaign also involves negotiating with employers for safety and security improvements in stores, and campaigning at government level for policies to tackle retail crime and anti-social behaviour. That is where we as MPs come in. I’ll also be urging the government to think again about cuts to police and community support officers who protect front-line workers and the public from violence, threats and abuse. The Government has a duty to protect communities.