Ann backs shopworkers’ call for respect

Ann Jones AM joins USDAW activists at the event in the National Assembly.

 Labour AM for the Vale of Clwyd Ann Jones has backed USDAW, the shopworkers’ trade union, at the launch in the Assembly of its annual Respect for Shopworkers week.This year’s campaign is focused on support for a new bill to give shopworkers legal protection against violence and abuse.

The Protection of Workers Bill was introduced into the Westminster Parliament this week by Labour MP Graeme Morrice and is scheduled to get a second reading on 1 February next year. The Bill aims to reduce incidents of violence, threats and abuse against all workers whose jobs bring them into face-to-face contact with members of the public. The bill will create a new offence relating to assaults on public facing workers, one that will carry a maximum sentence of 12 months and a £10,000 fine.

USDAW activists in shops and supermarkets across Wales are holding campaign events to urge colleagues and customers to ask their MP to back the new Bill and AMs to highlight and support it.

They are also reminding customers to ‘Keep Your Cool at Christmas’, a time when incidents of violence and abuse against shopworkers tend to increase.

Ann Jones said:

“It is wrong that shopworkers face abuse and violence while doing their utmost to serve the public. This campaign will highlight to shoppers the problems shopworkers can face, particularly in the run up to Christmas, when customers are stressed, stores are really busy and sometimes tempers get frayed.

“The union reps made their point with Santa hats and a smile on their face, but they are highlighting a real problem.

“I’m happy to join them in asking shoppers to show respect for shopworkers and to ‘Keep your cool at Christmas’.”

Usdaw Divisional Officer Nick Ireland said:

“Respect for Shopworkers Week is a great opportunity for retail staff to highlight to both colleagues and customers that abuse, threats and violence against people trying to do their job is totally unacceptable and should never be tolerated.

“Despite our Freedom From Fear campaign helping to raise awareness of the problem and reducing the number of incidents, it’s a sad fact that every minute of every day a shopworker somewhere is assaulted, threatened or abused. That’s why our members now think it’s time to give shopworkers extra legal protection. We hope AMs will support them by backing the Protection of Workers Bill.”