MP calls for greater protection for shopworkers in light of Covid abuse

Shipley MP Philip Davies has thrown his weight behind a campaign calling for shopworkers to be given better protection from abuse at work – as figures show incidents have doubled since the pandemic.

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) today launched its Shopworkers’ Protection Pledge, calling for better legislation for workers from abuse and violence and tougher sentences for the attackers.

Mr Davies said: “Having spent many years working in retail before becoming an MP I am acutely aware of the unacceptable abuse shop workers face all too regularly.  Coronavirus should have shown us all how much we rely on our shopworkers and appreciate them more and yet the levels of abuse have gone up which is completely outrageous. We must do more to support our shopworkers.”

The BRC also want a specific offence introduced for attacking a shopworker – something Mr Davies has previously called on Government to introduce.

There are more than 400 incidents of violence and abuse against retail staff every day. Common triggers include challenging shoplifters, enforcing age restricted sales and implementing social distancing and other coronavirus safety measures.

Mr Davies added: “I am very pleased to be supporting the BRC in trying to get better protection for workers. Earlier this year I called for a specific criminal offence to be introduced for attacking shop workers, as is the case for emergency workers, as I believe workers should know they have the full support of Government and we are all grateful for the vital work they do. They worked tirelessly through the pandemic to ensure people had necessities and we need to do all we can to ensure no one faces violence or abuse in the workplace,

“I will do everything I can to support the BRC and keep pushing Government to ensure workers in Shipley are protected.”

Chief Executive of the British Retail Consortium Helen Dickinson said: “Every day, hundreds of hardworking retail staff are subjected to violence or abuse in their place of work. These incidents leave physical and emotional scars, and affect not only the victim, but also their families, colleagues, and communities. Sadly, existing law, meant to protect these workers, is not fit for purpose, and many of these heinous crimes continue to go unpunished.

“We are calling on MPs from all parties to come together and sign the Shopworkers Protection Pledge. On behalf of the three million people who work in retail; their families and their communities, there is one simple message: doing nothing is not an option.”

Last week shop workers union Usdaw said violence and abuse against shops workers had doubled throughout the pandemic. It reported shop workers had been assaulted, threatened or abused at least once a week on average since the start of the Coronavirus outbreak compared to once a fortnight last year.