Abuse and violence in the workplace is a huge area of concern for USDAW*.

That’s why we launched our Freedom from Fear campaign 15 years ago. As part of the campaign, each year we hold ‘Respect for Shop Workers week’ to raise awareness with the public that violence, threats and abuse against workers is unacceptable. It’s about giving shop workers the confidence to speak out and report abuse, because it really shouldn’t be part of the job.

I’m pleased that this year the Co-op is supporting Respect for Shop Workers and throughout the week in shops you’ll see colleague posters and in store communications on till screens and on the in-store radio which will all help to raise awareness of what we’re trying to achieve together.

We need greater legal protection to deliver justice for workers who are assaulted while simply going about their jobs. We want to see the assault of a public-facing worker made a standalone offence as a signal of how serious the issue is, to act as a deterrent and to make it easier to bring prosecutions.

You may have recently seen our work with Co-op and local MP Alex Norris and David Hanson to amend the Offensive Weapons Bill. You can show your support by emailing your local MP.

We’re committed to working closely with Co-op on this and wider activity around helping us have safer colleagues and safer communities and you’ll hear more this week about what else the Co-op are doing to support this.

By working together, we can deliver real change both in Co-op shops and in the legal framework to protect workers.

John Gorle
National Officer, USDAW

*Usdaw (Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers) is the UK’s fourth biggest and the fastest growing trade union with over 430,000 members and the recognised union for Co-op Food colleagues. Usdaw members work in the retail sector, but the Union also has many members in transport, distribution, food manufacturing, chemicals and other trades.


Join the conversation! 6 Comments

  1. i was a team leader in the Biggleswade store for just under 2 years and dealt with aggressive thieves daily. there needs to be more safety measures put in place because i first hand saw how it effected my hard working colleagues. there must be more that can be done. not only noticed by staff, but customers start to talk and notice so this effects the reputation of the store also. my final point, the cost of a security guard a few hours a day cant be anywhere near as much as the cost of the stock stolen as it it on such a regular basis!

  2. I was working in one the ‘Late Shops’ in 2006, and an armed robbery took place shortly before we closed – it really is a distressing time, and even harder to go back to work afterwards – the campaign is brilliant!

  3. Hi…the link to email your MP which redirects to USDAW doesn’t work, can this be fixed so we can encourage our teams to engage with their MP?

  4. 2 armed robberies
    Aggressive shop lifters
    Mosr recently death threats
    Ye i feel well safe in work

  5. “We want to see the assault of a public-facing worker made a standalone offence”

    That’s great, but what difference will it make? If comes into our store to cause trouble (whatever the reason), they aren’t thinking about the consequences.

  6. In 6 years working for Coop and being an Usdaw Rep, it’s great to see collaboration on this years Freedom From Fear campaign.

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