Shop worker petition is the fastest growing in Parliamentary history
A call for legally enshrined protection for retail staff against violence, threats and abuse has become the fastest growing Parliamentary petition of all time, reaching 10,000 signatures in just one day.
The Usdaw petition, backed by the UK’s largest convenience store retailer the Co-op, along with the industry’s leading trade bodies the British Retail Consortium and the Association of Convenience Stores, has since passed the 40,000 mark – enough to trigger a Parliamentary debate into the issue.
Paddy Lillis, Usdaw General Secretary says: “We are delighted that the petition has already reached the first milestone, which requires the Government to respond. It is no surprise, because this is a hugely important issue for our members and, with incidents of abuse doubling during the COVID-19 crisis they are saying loud and clear that enough is enough, abuse should never be just a part of the job.
“I am grateful to the employers for supporting the petition. When retailers and the trade union for shop workers unite in a call for action, it should be time for the Government to sit up, listen to our concerns and deliver much needed protection for staff.
“I urge the Government to respond positively to my petition, listen to the voices of shop workers and employers and commit to legislating for stiffer penalties for those who assault workers. They have talked about zero-tolerance, but that means very little if it is not backed up by strong actions.
“The measures the Government have agreed are worth trying and we hope that they can make a real difference. However they would be much more likely to succeed if backed up with new legislation; a simple standalone offence that is widely recognised and understood by the public, police, CPS, the judiciary and most importantly criminals.
“Retail staff have a crucial role in our communities and that role must be valued and respected, they deserve the protection of the law.”
Earlier this summer the Government unveiled its plan to tackle retail violence which included working closer with retailers and the police, but stopping short of announcing a specific offence of violence or intimidation against store staff.
Scotland’s Parliament however will hear the second reading of a bill to introduce a specific offence this Autumn.
To view and sign the petition, click here.