Tom Blenkinsop, MP for Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland, has joined with the members of the retail union Usdaw to call for an end to abuse in the workplace. 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.

Tom said:

“I am proud to back this campaign which raises awareness of the abuse and violence faced by shopworkers across the UK. It’s important we all show respect to retail workers, especially during the stressful and busy run-up to Christmas.

“It is unacceptable that anyone should have to face abuse in their workplace. The stories I have heard from Usdaw representatives and shopworkers show how difficult abusive customers can make their jobs.

“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 Tom 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.”