Employers and unions target retail rage

Unions and employers in the retail sector have vowed to put pressure on the government to help crack down on violence in the workplace.

Retail union Usdaw has designated today (Wednesday) as ‘Respect for Shopworkers Day’, part of its campaign to reduce the 20,000 physical assaults UK’s retail staff suffer every year.

According to Usdaw research, every minute of every working day one of its 340,000 members is either physically or verbally assaulted in their place of work simply because they are doing their job.

The research suggests that one of the main flashpoints for violence is when under-age drinkers try to buy alcohol.

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) said the government needs to step up efforts to address retail violence.

“BRC figures showed that in 2003, verbal abuse towards retailers increased by 127% and threats of violence grew by 161%,” said Kevin Hawkins, director general of the BRC.

“Retail crime is not victimless, this violence has a devastating impact on staff well-being and business viability. Reducing the terrible and often-unseen costs of these crimes is a priority for the industry and we are pushing to make it a higher priority for government.”

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