Ian Austin MP

Labour MP for Dudley North

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Austin backs respect for shopworkers week

Dudley MP Ian Austin has added his support to a campaign to protect shopworkers from abuse.

Austin has joined with members of the retail union Usdaw to campaign for respect for shopworkers as part of the Freedom From Fear Campaign, which seeks to prevent violence, threats and abuse directed at retail staff.

Usdaw members are highlighting the problems faced by staff during Respect for Shopworkers Week, which runs from 14 to 20 November.

The union has long campaigned for the introduction of a specific offence relating to assault on people whose work brings them into face-to-face contact with members of the public.

Ian Austin said:

"Too often retail employees are confronted with violence, threats and abuse and it is really important we stand together and ask people to respect shopworkers especially as we approach the busy Christmas shopping period and the Black Friday sales.

"There were some shocking scenes of violence during Black Friday last year and I have written to the Business Secretary calling for respect to be shown to shopworkers and for them to have extra legal protection whilst going about their work.

"I will continue to campaign with Usdaw to provide shopworkers the support they need and deserve. We must give a clear message that abusing or assaulting workers who are serving the public is totally unacceptable."

John Hannett, Usdaw General Secretary said:

"We are grateful to Ian for supporting our campaign to keep our members safe at work.

"Often, in the course of their duties, shopworkers are expected to deal with tense and difficult situations. Unfortunately these can escalate to verbal abuse and assault. Over 300 shopworkers are assaulted every day and it is time to say enough is enough.

"Parliament has placed the legal obligation on shopworkers to enforce the law in relation to age restricted sales and Parliament must also ensure that the law also protects shopworkers who are doing their job. Politicians and members of the public must work together to ensure that shopworkers get the respect they deserve."

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