News

New laws to protect shop workers from attack rejected

By on

The government has rejected calls to create stiffer penalties for people who assault shop workers, despite attacks doubling during the coronavirus crisis.


Usdaw, the shop workers’ union, wants retail workers to get the same rights as emergency service workers – assaults against the latter is punishable by up to one year in prison.

Shop workers are not reporting incidents due to an acceptance of abuse as part of the job and because they feel nothing would happen if they did, a government consultation on the issue has revealed.

Most workers responding to the government's consultation had experienced attacks or threats of attacks

Most workers responding had experienced attacks or threats of attacks, commonly involving weapons or sharp objects.

They say repeat offenders are returning to stores where they have harmed or threatened staff because they are fearless of repercussions.

Of the respondents who had reported incidents of violence or abuse, more than half were not happy with the response from police or their manager.

Usdaw says stiffer penalties for assaulting shop workers would encourage workers to come forward. But government said no to new laws, but that it would improve signage to tell people not to assault staff and gather more evidence on the drivers for under-reporting of crimes.

Commenting, Paddy Lillis, Usdaw General Secretary said: “At a time when the government is rightly increasing sentences for those who assault emergency service workers, and we congratulate them for that, they don’t appear to understand the role retail workers have in helping to keep our communities safe, preventing crime and anti-social behaviour.”

Attacks have doubled since March 14, say Usdaw. Since then 62.2 per cent of workers have been verbally abused, 29 per cent threatened and 4 per cent physically assaulted.

Under the Assaults on Emergency Workers (Offences) Act 2018, assaults against workers are punishable by up to 12 months in prison. People who cough on or threaten emergency workers will also face a year in prison, the Crown Prosecution Service has said. 

Usdaw is petitioning for a change in the law. Find out more at bit.ly/3iYlcnd

 

 

NEWS


Black Shop Worker Istock 1225043424

Ethnicity must be treated as risk factor in Covid-19, say doctors

By Belinda Liversedge on 23 October 2020

Measures to tackle health inequalities among Black and South Asian ethnic groups fail to address the scale of the issue, two doctors commenting on government plans have said, adding that ethnicity must be factored into policy decision making.



17-The-risks-of-keeping-going_0.jpg (1)

Asbestos victims’ claims held up coronavirus

By Belinda Liversedge on 15 October 2020

Over 250 claims are still pending to be processed by the government for victims of asbestos related diseases, and at least fifteen people have died before seeing the payments owed to them.



Shopkeeper iStock_MachineHeadz_MED-min.jpg

'Reinstate Section 40 of Equality Act to stop workplace harassment': TUC

By Belinda Liversedge on 05 October 2020

The TUC is calling on the government to implement the Equality Act in full on its tenth anniversary.