A leading retail trade worker union is calling for retail workers in Northern Ireland to be offered specific legal protections from violence, threats and abuse.
Retail trade union Usdaw has a delegation attending the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) Northern Ireland (NI) Biennial Conference in Enniskillen on 22 and 23 November where it stated that retail workers in Norther Ireland have been left behind while protections have been introduced in England, Scotland and Wales.
Usdaw has published shocking interim statistics from their annual survey of over 4,600 retail staff, which show that in the last twelve months, 71 per cent ( against (pre-pandemic levels of 67 per cent) have experienced verbal abuse. While 48 per cent (42 per cent in pre-pandemic) were threatened by a customer, 5 per cent were assaulted.
While 45 per cent said they were not confident that reporting abuse, threats and violence will make a difference, 20 per cent of those who had been assaulted did not report the incident.
Paddy Lillis – Usdaw General Secretary says, “It is heart-breaking to hear these testimonies from Northern Irish shopworkers who deserve far more respect than they receive. Our latest survey results clearly show the scale of the appalling violence, threats and abuse faced by shopworkers.
“Usdaw, with the support of many retailers, has won new legislation to protect shop workers from violence, threats and abuse in Scotland, Wales and England. Although this is a positive development in our campaign, it is extremely disappointing that retail workers in Northern Ireland are not covered.
“All retail workers deserve legal protection from abuse, threats and violence. Effective legislation must be passed in Northern Ireland to protect retail workers and make it clear abuse is not part of the job. Usdaw is calling on the ICTU to campaign for a Northern Ireland Government to take action and implement effective legislation which protects retail workers against abuse, threats and violence.”