Shopworkers’ trade union leader John Hannett has expressed concern about a TUC survey published today which finds one in eight people experience violence at work.

The poll, carried out by YouGov for the TUC and released today to coincide with the start of ‘heartunions’ week, reveals that 12% of people have experienced work-related violence. Medical and health workers were the biggest group to say they have faced work-related violence (22%), followed by workers in education (12%), hospitality and leisure (11%), retail (9%) and manufacturing (6%).

John Hannett – Usdaw General Secretary says: “All too often shopworkers encounter violence, threats and abuse for simply doing their job and this latest survey from the TUC confirms there is a real issue to be addressed. Our own survey of over 2,000 shopworkers showed that 9% have been assaulted. Last month the British Retail Consortium reported a 28% increase in offences involving abuse or violence against shop workers.”

“Life on the frontline of retail can be pretty tough for many shopworkers and there is still a lot to do to help protect them. We launched our Freedom From Fear Campaign in the face of growing concerns amongst retail workers about violence, threats and abuse. The campaign works with retailers to promote respect and make workplaces safer for staff and customers alike.

“All too often criminals who assault staff are not even sent to court, and those who are can receive derisory sentences. In other cases, where the offender often isn’t charged at all victims are left feeling that no one cares that they were assaulted.

“Retail crime remains too high and there needs to be action to protect shopworkers. It is time for the Government to act by providing stiffer penalties for those who assault shopworkers. Retail staff have a crucial role in our communities and that role must be valued and respected.”