Hot topic: Violence against retail workers

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​A survey by The British Retail Consortium found that more than 100 retail workers were attacked every day at work last year

The Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers (USDAW) has warned that attacks are becoming more severe and violent. So with statistics showing that violent crime across the UK is rising, what must employers do to protect their employees?

Paddy Lillis, general secretary of USDAW, says:

"The evidence from retailers, police and USDAW’s own survey of shop workers all show a disturbing increase in retail crime. This cannot be allowed to continue – action must be taken.

"Life on the frontline of retail can be pretty tough for many shop workers; there needs to be government action to protect them. The police must have the resources from the government to respond to incidents and investigate retail crime. We, along with retail employers, have called on the government to legislate for stiffer sentences for the thugs that attack shop workers. We want to see retailers, police and the courts working in partnership to ensure better protection.

"Retail staff are an important part of our communities. Their role must be valued, respected and protected."

Catherine Muirden, director of people at Co-op Food, says:

"Safety and security is our number one priority. We know violence and crime is about much more than statistics, it is about the impact on people’s lives and the communities in which they live and work. As a community-based organisation we see the impact of social issues in our stores, and we’re committed to doing all we can to protect colleagues and make our communities safer.

"All too often this issue is talked about as a crime against business, but it’s not. We can replace stock. The issue needs to be about the human cost – physical and emotional impacts to shop workers and their families, and the wellbeing of colleagues afraid to come to work because of rising levels of violence and abuse in communities.

"We must take action and work together, and collectively re-think our approach to ensure people feel safe when they turn up for work."

Check back tomorrow to read part two of this hot topic

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