Research from the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers (USDAW) has uncovered that three-quarters of retail staff say abuse has been worse during the pandemic, with 85% of shopworkers experiencing verbal abuse.

In support of annual Respect for Shopworkers Week, Medway Labour and Co-operative Councillors have signed the USDAW’s petition calling on Government to enact legislation to protect retail workers, particularly given the unacceptable rise in threatening behaviour amidst the current pandemic.

The petition, which has received over 75,000 signatures, has already received a response from Government with very limited substance. Therefore the USDAW are attempting to trigger a parliamentary debate on this issue by achieving 100,000 signatures.

You can sign the petition here:

Paddy Lillis, General Secretary of USDAW said that, ‘At a time when we should all be working together to get through this national crisis, it is a disgrace that staff working to keep food on the shelves are being abused.

‘This is a hugely important issue for our members. Shopworkers are saying loud and clear that enough is enough, abuse should never be just a part of the job. Retail staff have a crucial role in our communities and that role must be valued and respected, they deserve the protection of the law.’

Cllr Vince Maple, Medway Labour and Co-operative Group Leader said that, ‘No-one deserves to be threatened in their workplace, but especially our key workers who have been continuing to undertake essential work in these unprecedented circumstances. We must ensure that this contribution to our community is recognised, and our shopworkers are protected by stronger legislation.’

Cllr Andy Stamp, Medway Labour and Co-operative Group’s spokesperson for Regeneration and Communities said that, ‘It’s hugely disappointing to see our shopworkers treated in this manner, particularly at a time of national crisis. Abuse should never be part of the job, and we will do all we can to support our keyworkers.’

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