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Portsmouth MP shares his support for Young Workers Week

By 7 March 2024No Comments

Stephen Morgan MP is sharing his support for the Freedom from Fear campaign on Young Workers Week, sending a message that violence, threats and abuse are not a part of the job.

Retail trade union USDAW has made ‘Freedom from Fear’ the theme of this year’s Young Workers’ Week, which runs from 4-10 March.

This week young union members will be raising awareness of the campaign and sending a message that violence, threats and abuse are not a part of the job and that joining the union can help keep them stay safe at work.

In the last few years, there has been a significant increase in violent crime and abuse against retail workers. While incidents spiked during Covid, they remain above pre-pandemic levels, driven in part by an epidemic of theft from shops.

Interim results from USDAW’s 2023 annual survey of members shows that two-thirds of shopworkers were verbally abused far too many suffer threats and assaults.

Mr Morgan has been a strong supporter of USDAW’s campaign against shoplifting, calling on the Government to take greater action to tackle the crime and protect shopworkers who are on the front line of this abuse.

He 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, as well as scrapping the £200 thresholds for prosecution.

Comments from young shopworkers under the age of 27 when responding to USDAW’s most recent survey indicate it is the norm for young workers to be verbally abuse and physically threatened in their place of work.

Young workers are particularly vulnerable as they often work late shifts and weekends, when they are more likely to have to deal with drunk customers and suffer higher levels of abuse.

Commenting on the Freedom from Fear campaign, Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan said:

”Your first job as a young person should play a vital role in providing you with new skills and preparing you for the future. Instead, young shopworkers across the UK are often forced to learn to navigate abuse and threats of violence at their place of work.

“The Conservative Government has repeatedly failed to act in the face of an epidemic of retail crime, rising theft from shops and assaults against retail workers. Action to tackle this issue is long overdue.

“That’s why this Young Workers week I am supporting USDAW’s Freedom from Fear campaign and will continue to call on the Government to treat this issue with the urgency it deserves.”

Mr Morgan has provided strong backing to USDAW throughout their campaign to protect shop workers from abuse, making several parliamentary interventions to hold the Government to account. He has been listening to concerns locally, meeting with local police and retailers and meeting with shop workers to hear concerns.

Labour has put forward a package of measures to address this issue, including adding 13,000 more neighbourhood police officers with guaranteed patrols in town centres, implementing Respect Orders to ban repeat offenders from town centres, and creating a standalone offence for assaulting workers serving the public.