Usdaw says confused customers must not take out their frustration on shop staff

Tim Lezard Europe, UK,

plastic bagsUsdaw is calling customers to not lose their cool with shop staff over the new plastic bag charges.

The new 5p charge, aiming to reduce waste, was introduced yesterday and but has caused some confusion in some quarters.

Everyone is expected to pay 5p per bag, but bags are free if you are buying raw meat or fish, prescription medicines, fresh flowers. Items such as potatoes and unwrapped ready-to-eat food such as chips will also get a bag free of charge.

Usdaw general secretary John Hannett said: “Every day shopworkers have to enforce a number of laws, like age identification. Sometimes customers can get frustrated with this and take it out on the staff. So the introduction of a new law, like carrier bag charging, can be a flashpoint for verbal abuse, threats or even violence.

“Therefore my message to customers is clear. Please respect shopworkers, they are just doing their job and have to comply with the law.

“Our surveys show that life on the frontline of retail can be pretty tough, with more than half suffering verbal abuse in the last twelve months. Retail staff have an important role in our communities and that role should be valued and respected.”

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Tim Lezard

Campaigning journalist, editor of @Union_NewsUK, NUJ exec member; lover of cricket, football, cycling, theatre and dodgy punk bands

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