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Nia Griffith MP freedom from Fear Nov 2015

L to R: Usdaw Organiser Sue David, Morrison’s staff Ayesha Hassan and Carrie Ann Morgan, Llanelli MP Nia Griffith, Llanelli Store Manager Gemma Jones, Personnel Manager Natasha Warlow and Tony Ware Manager of Ty Glas Store.

Nia Griffith MP and Labour’s assembly candidate Lee Waters have been out in Llanelli highlighting the problem of abusive behaviour towards shop workers, as part of the trade union Usdaw’s annual Freedom from Fear campaign which takes place in the run-up to Christmas. The Llanelli MP who visited the town centre Argos and Morrisons, meeting customers and staff, explained:

“Shopworkers should not have to put up with abuse in the course of their work. If they ask you for proof of age when you are buying age-related goods, they are only doing their job. This time of year can be particularly difficult as stores are busy and shoppers stressed in the run-up to Christmas, so we’re asking people to keep their cool at Christmas.”

Usdaw has also recently released  the interim results of their annual survey of shopworkers, which shows a slight decline in the number of incidents of violence, threats and abuse, but the overall figures are still shockingly high. Over half of shopworkers were verbally abused in the last year, with more than 10% on a weekly or daily basis, 3 in 10 were threatened with violence and over 2% were assaulted.

 John Hannett – Usdaw General Secretary says: “All too often shopworkers encounter violence, threats and abuse for simply doing their job. So it is very concerning that one in five do not report something as serious as a violent attack to their employer.

“Anecdotally we are told that sometimes staff don’t feel it would make any difference if they do report incidents or that it’s just a part of being in a frontline job, dealing with the public and the problems that sometimes throws up.

“My message to shopworkers is very clear, abuse is not a part of the job. We are talking to employers to ensure that reporting systems are easily accessible and will make a real difference to the protection. However it is really important that staff do tell their manager when they experience violence, threats or abuse. If they report it we can help sort it.

Welsh Labour’s Assembly Candidate Lee Waters with Nia Griffith MP in Argos Llanelli.