Shopworkers have spoken out about ‘violence, threats and abuse’ they face on an almost daily basis.
Retail trade union Usdaw has published shocking statistics from their annual survey of nearly 3,500 retail staff, which shows that 90% have experienced verbal abuse and 64% were threatened by a customer.
The survey also says 12% were assaulted and 61% said they were not confident that reporting abuse, threats and violence will make a difference.
These are some of the comments North West shopworkers shared when responding to Usdaw’s survey:
Cumbria: “Verbal abuse is almost on a daily basis when challenging for ID or enforcing face masks/social distancing.” – “I refused someone alcohol and they waited for me leaving the store and attacked me.”
Cheshire: “A drunk man walked into the store and smacked my bum.” – “I’ve never been spoken so badly in all my years working in retail. This type of behaviour should not be tolerated.” – “General bad language and abuse for doing my job.”
Lancashire: “Customers attitude towards staff has changed dramatically and they get aggressive when challenged.” – “Most recent, shoplifter tried to head-butt me. If it wasn’t for another customers help, I would have been seriously hurt.”
Manchester: “Customers taking my picture, shouting abuse calling me a liar, saying they are going to wait for me after work.” – “I have been sworn at and shouted at spoken to in an extremely rude and aggressive manner.”
Merseyside: “Was punched in the head by a shoplifter as he attempted to punch a member of my staff.” – “Was severely verbally abused because I asked a man to ‘step back please’ with regards to Covid.”
Paddy Lillis – Usdaw General Secretary says: “It is heart-breaking to hear these testimonies from North West 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 9% in 2020 to 12% 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. The Government must provide the co-ordination needed 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.”