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    Starmer backs Usdaw’s campaign for special law to protect shop workers

    Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer (Photo by Anthony Devlin/Getty Images)

    Labour party leader Sir Keir Starmer on Tuesday (14) expressed his support towards trade union Usdaw’s campaign for a special law to protect shop workers in England.

    Speaking at Trades Union Congress 2021, Starmer mentioned trade union Usdaw and its ‘Freedom From Fear’ campaign, which seeks to protect shop workers from violence, threats and abuse.

    “I particularly want to pay tribute to USDAW’s ‘Freedom from Fear’ campaign against violence and abuse towards shop workers. Having spoken to many shop workers over the last 18 months, I am in no doubt how important that campaign is to them,” Starmer said in his speech.

    Reacting to the Labour leader’s support to the campaign, Usdaw general secretary Paddy Lillis urged the government to reverse their past opposition by introducing an amendment to their policing bill.

    “We urge the government to keep to their word and ensure that the measure they bring forward is substantial and delivers much needed protections. When retail employers, leading retail bodies, the Home Affairs Select Committee and the shop workers’ trade union jointly call for legislation, it is time for the government to listen,” Lillis said.

    Meanwhile, MP Olivia Blake has introduced Abuse of Public-Facing Workers (Offences) Bill in the House of Commons under the 10-minute rule. It is scheduled for a second reading on Friday 28 January 2022.

    Speaking in the House of Commons, Sheffield Hallam MP of the Labour party said that the UK needs “better reporting, support and a more robust pursuit of prosecutions”.

    “Today with this Bill I’m here to propose that verbal or physical abuse of public-facing workers carrying out their duties has to be made its own specific offence,” Blake said, adding that if the existing legislation reflects the situation in which we’re seeing spiraling levels of abuse, then “it is time that we changed it because the status quo simply isn’t working”.

    Trade unions have been campaigning to make abuse against shop workers a special offence citing the spike in the crime against them, especially during the pandemic. MSPs have introduced a new ground-breaking law to give Scotland’s shop workers protection, which came into force last month.

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