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One shopworker a minute exposed to abuse or attack

SHOPWORKERS suffer a catalogue of violence, threats and abuse on a regular basis, union Usdaw revealed yesterday as it launched its annual Respect for Shopworkers campaign week.

Usdaw said the last year saw a “shocking” increase in incidents with a retail staff member being verbally or physically abused every minute.

Reports from staff included a worker being threatened by a shoplifter who told them to “get out of the way or get stabbed with a syringe.”

Another had a frozen piece of gammon thrown at them by “an irate customer,” one a tin of beans and one a suitcase.

Other reports included shoplifting, staff members being punched in the face or pushed into walls.

“A guy threatened to smash my face in with a bottle of alcohol,” another said.

The union is calling on customers to respect staff and “keep your cool.”

Usdaw general secretary John Hannett said: “Violence, threats and abuse against workers is one of the great scourges of our society.

“The statistics are shocking and show that urgent action is required.

“We really have to question whether this is a consequence of severe cuts in police funding. Since 2010 there are 20,000 fewer police, shoplifting is rising, but fewer shop thieves going to court.

“Only last week HM Inspectorate of Constabulary found in its third annual report that police forces are under significant financial pressure and some are failing to respond to ‘low priority crimes’ including theft, assault and violence.”

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