UK shopworkers face barrage of abuse every week

An
average week for a shopworker often includes high levels of verbal abuse,
threats of violence and, in worst cases, physical attacks, a survey published
today has revealed.

Asked
to record every incident over a week-long period, shop staff across the UK
listed a catalogue of abusive, anti-social and violent behaviour by customers.

The
survey, by shopworkers’ union Usdaw, details incidents within a seven-day
period in June. A random sample of 660 shopworkers reported:


887 incidents of verbal abuse


224 threats (including threats to kill, stab and punch, and arson)


107 cases of violence


48 incidents of sexual harassment


32 incidents of racial abuse

Usdaw
general secretary, John Hannett, said: "Usdaw’s survey has revealed that
many shopworkers are going to work in fear of being a victim of violence,
threats or abuse – and that is totally unacceptable.

"Usdaw
is calling for the introduction of a compulsory proof of age scheme because,
without doubt, the continued absence of such a scheme is putting shopworkers’
safety at risk. Refusing to sell alcohol and cigarettes to under-age customers
is a major flashpoint in stores."

By Mike Berry

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