By Jo Whitfield, Food CEO

It’s been a busy start to the year for our Safer Colleagues, Safer Communities campaign. We’ve been speaking to leaders from all over the Co-op about what we achieved last year, what’s to come and encouraging them to take action to help our cause.

One of the things you can see in our ‘One year on report’ is the support we gave to the Home Office call for evidence into violence and abuse towards shop workers, which closed on 28 June 2019. Over 600 brave Co-op colleagues shared their experiences of violence and intimidation with the Government. But months later, there’s been no plan of action from the Home Office or Kit Malthouse MP, the Minister responsible.

That’s when our brilliant Co-op colleagues stepped in! Over 5,000 of you have written to your local MPs demanding a response from the Home Office. A huge thank you to everyone who helped us with this. We’ve had support from MPs too. Last week in a Westminster Hall debate, Alex Norris MP asked Boris Johnson a question about violence at work on behalf of all shopworkers, highlighting our Co-op as the leading business looking to address this issue.

Alex Norris MP:

“Mr Speaker, every day an estimated 280 shop workers will be victims of violence at work. At my local Co-op a staff member was hit with a glass bottle. Now the Co-op is a good employer and want that to stop. So, they and other local retailers engaged with the Governments call for evidence around violence towards shop staff. Seven and a half months later they’re awaiting a response. Mr Prime Minister will you commit today to publish a response to the call for evidence and will you meet with me and a group of shop workers who have experienced violence at work to hear about what happened to them.’’

Boris Johnson PM:

‘’I certainly will make that time to take into the honourable gentlemen. I’m glad he raised it. We should not tolerate crimes of violence against shop workers, or indeed anybody else.”

With your help, we’re really starting to make cut through on this campaign. If you haven’t already done so, you can download the letter here and send it to your local MP – make sure you pop your home address on there, so they can respond to you.

And there’s more to come. We’ve invited hundreds of MPs into our shops at the end of March during Antisocial Behaviour Awareness week to talk to them about our campaign. Let’s hope we’ll have received a response by then!

In the meantime, we’re busy trialling lots of things in shops for those most affected by violent crime and theft including body worn cameras, personal safety devices and changes to the way our drivers transport high value items. You can read more about the other things we’re doing here.

Join the conversation! 5 Comments

  1. It’s really great to see so many Co op colleagues ‘collaborating’ and involved in this campaign. We wouldn’t stand for this violence in Head Office and shouldn’t stand for it in our stores. I love that we are leading the way using political parties to support and drive change for our colleagues.

  2. The fact he’s said he’ll do that is almost 100% proof that the won’t. It would actually have been better if he said he refused.

  3. What a wonderful and apt response from our Prime Minister. It is lovely to see agreement on such an important matter between both parties.

    I have every faith that our conservative government will continue to work with us, just as Theresa May supported our Modern Slavery campaign.

  4. From his recent form I am hesitant to believe this vague response by the PM. He wouldn’t even visit the flood areas in the UK. Despite widespread calls for him to do so. I shall wait and see.

  5. It’s a positive step but it is Boris Johnson we’re talking about.

    Let’s not get our hopes up too much!

    He’s also pushing for the UK to deviate from existing food supply quality and employment standards.

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