Usdaw urges customers to respect shopworkers

Trade union Usdaw has called on customers to follow the rules and respect shopworkers, as non-essential retailers begin to open.

The trade union is asking for customers to play their part in keeping employees safe and ensuring there is no risk to the Government’s roadmap out of lockdown.

With non-essential retailers reopening their doors, the Government has published its updated safety guidance ahead of reopening.

The report states that all customers will have to continue to follow social distancing rules, shop alone or in small groups, queue or follow one-way signs where necessary and follow hygiene rules.

READ MORE: Statutory sick pay is not enough, warns Usdaw

Usdaw also urges customers to wear face coverings unless they have an exemption.

The news comes as Usdaw has reported an increase in violence and abuse against shopworkers, with incidents often occurring when staff encourage customers to follow these rules.

Usdaw said shopworkers have been coughed on, attacked and threatened, just for doing their job, and the situation has been getting worse.

“The reopening of stores offers a lifeline for many retailers, which helps to safeguard jobs, but the virus is still out there. We expect employers to conduct full risk assessments, follow the agreed guidance and ensure that customers are fully informed of the necessary safety measures,” Usdaw general secretary Paddy Lillis said.

“Shoppers need to play their part in helping to limit the spread of the virus and avoid further lockdowns by following the rules and respecting staff.”

“Regrettably, throughout this appalling pandemic, incidents of abuse towards shopworkers doubled and Covid safety measures have now become significant flashpoints.”

“Abuse should never be part of the job and shopworkers – who played a vital role in getting food and medicine into our homes during the pandemic – deserve our thanks and respect.”

According to a 2020 survey, conducted by Usdaw, 2,729 shopworkers across the UK found that: 88% experienced verbal abuse.

Around 60% were threatened by a customer, 9% were assaulted, and 79% of shopworkers say the abuse was worse last year.

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