|Cat Smith MP with General Secretary and Deputy General Secretary of USDAW|
As part of the union's Freedom From Fear Campaign, which seeks to prevent violence, threats and abuse directed at retail staff, Usdaw members are highlighting the problems faced by staff during Respect for Shopworkers Week, which runs from 14th to 20th November.
"Too often retail employees are confronted with violence, threats and abuse whilst serving the public," says Cat Smith, Labour MP for Lancaster and Fleetwood. "It's really important we stand together and ask people to keep their cool and respect shopworkers, especially as we approach the busy Christmas shopping period.
"I was personally shocked to hear about the abuse that shopworkers can receive on what can be a daily basis. No one should have to go to work expecting abuse.
"I will continue to campaign with Usdaw to provide shopworkers the support they need and deserve. We must give a clear message that abusing or assaulting workers who are serving the public is totally unacceptable."
"We are grateful to Cat Smith for supporting our campaign to keep our members safe at work," commented John Hannett, USDAW's General Secretary.
The union has some 433,000 members nationwide.
"Often, in the course of their duties, shopworkers are expected to deal with tense and difficult situations. Unfortunately these can escalate to verbal abuse and assault. Over 300 shopworkers are assaulted every day and it is time to say enough is enough.
"Parliament has placed the legal obligation on shopworkers to enforce the law in relation to age restricted sales and Parliament must also ensure that the law also protects shopworkers who are doing their job. Politicians and members of the public must work together to ensure that shopworkers get the respect they deserve."