At beginning of Respect for Shopworkers Week, union says members have the right to work free from abuse and attack


Usdaw has launched a campaign against the police cuts in England and Wales, branding the Tory-led coalition’s attack on police budgets a threat to the safety of all shopworkers.

The union has produced a leaflet and petition against the cuts and union activists and members will be out in force during Respect for Shopworkers Week (7 – 11 November), urging shoppers and members of the public to back their campaign and to sign the union’s petition.

Usdaw’s latest Freedom from Fear survey revealed that in the previous 12 months, 6% of shopworkers surveyed had been subjected to violent attack, 37% had been threatened with harm and a massive 70% had suffered verbal abuse.

General secretary John Hannett said: “Every minute of every day a shopworker is assaulted, threatened or abused. While our Freedom From Fear campaign has helped raise awareness of the problem and reduced the number of incidents, the level of violence and abuse faced by shopworkers remains shocking and totally unacceptable.

“Thankfully, incidents of physical violence against shopworkers halved in the past decade, but a key factor in this was Labour’s investment in the police and crime prevention. The Tory-led coalition’s 20% cut to police budgets will take16,000 police officers and 1,800 PCSOs off the street and this represents a real threat to the safety of all shopworkers.

“Does anyone really believe that by cutting frontline policing, crime will continue to fall and people will be safer? I fear that when these cuts bite we will be left with a much less effective police force thatis grossly under-staffed and terribly demoralised.

“Usdaw members are genuinely worried about the impact the cuts will have on their working lives and in the communities where they live and I’m sure the vast majority of people feel exactly the same.”

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