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Portsmouth MP backs Usdaw’s calls for last minute shoppers to ‘keep your cool’ at Christmas

By 21 December 2023No Comments

Stephen Morgan MP and retail trade union Usdaw (Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers) are asking customers to ‘keep your cool’ as the busy pre- Christmas shopping gets underway, which will culminate in what the retail industry has already dubbed ‘Super Saturday’, with 23 December being the last full shopping day before Christmas.

It follows the release of shocking statistics from Usdaw’s annual survey of shopworkers show that there are still far too many incidents of violence, threats and abuse against shopworkers.

Interim results from over 3,000 retail staff responses show that in the last twelve months:

  • 65% have experienced verbal abuse.
  • 42% were threatened by a customer.
  • 5% were assaulted.

Usdaw report that seven in ten of these incidents were triggered by customers being frustrated with stock shortages, lack of staff or problems with self-service checkouts in the lead up to Christmas.

All of these problems are largely outside the control of retail staff, but they are the people who bear the brunt of shoppers’ anger.

Commenting on the shocking statistics, City MP Stephen Morgan said:

“Shopworkers play such an important role for our local communities serving our needs not just at Christmas but all year round.

“The very least they deserve is to be treated with the dignity and respect we would all normally expect from each other when in our place of work.

“That’s why I am proud to be a longtime supporter of Usdaw’s Freedom from Fear Campaign seeking to prevent violence, threats and abuse against workers, and why I am joining their calls for customers to show respect for shopworkers who will already be under stress during the busy festive period.”

Paddy Lillis, Usdaw’s General Secretary said:

“It is shocking that two-thirds of our members working in retail stores are suffering abuse from customers, with far too many experiencing threats and violence.

“Our members tell us that incidents of verbal abuse are much worse in the run up to Christmas, when shops are busy, customers are stressed and things can boil over.

That is why we are asking customers to ‘keep your cool’ and respect shopworkers, to make the Christmas shopping experience better for everyone.”

The City MP has taken a range of actions to standup for shopworkers in Portsmouth, calling on the Government to address the crisis in shoplifting through restoring neighbourhood policing, as well as introducing a standalone offence to protect shopworkers from associated incidents of violence, threats and abuse.