Shop Workers Union Concerned Over Employee Conditions


Great Britain's shop workers Union Usdaw (Union of Shop Workers, Distributive and Allied Workers) reports it is extremely worried by the increase in reported incidents of abuse and threats against shop staff recorded by the British Retail Consortium's (BRC's) annual survey of retail crime which was published recently.

The BRC says that, excluding recent riots, the total number of reported incidents of verbal abuse, threats, and violence against shop workers rose by 83% in 2011, driven by a more than three-fold increase in threats and a five-fold increase in incidents of verbal abuse. [WCx]
On a more positive note, the total number of physical assaults against shop workers reduced by 62.8% in 2011 and the total number of incidents remains on a downward trend. Despite this year's increase, the BRC says the total number of incidents against shop workers has reduced by a compound annual rate of 30% in the past 7 years.
The BRC attributes part of the this year's overall increase to staff being encouraged to report all threats and incidents of verbal abuse, although the report also highlights the fact that retailers themselves still continue to report less than half of all incidents of shoplifting (46.9%) to the police.
The BRC's survey also details the human cost of the riots and the appalling levels of violence and fear of violence faced by shop workers in August. In total over more than 5,000 crimes were committed, including 1,860 incidents of arson and criminal damage, 1,649 burglaries, 141 incidents of disorder, 366 incidents of violence against the person and 5 fatalities. The vast majority of employers (81.5%) said their staff was fearful of violence with around a third reporting incidents of physical and verbal violence against staff.
John Hannett, Usdaw general secretary noted, "The huge leap in reported incidents of verbal abuse and threats against shop workers is extremely worrying and shows why we need to continue to work closely with the BRC, employers, police and other agencies to reduce all incidents of shop crime, create safer workplaces and ensure offenders are brought to justice. [WCx]
"While the reduction in the number of assaults and continuing downward trend in the total number of incidents is welcome news, our own survey figures indicate there continues to be a significant problem of under-reporting and that these figures remain the tip of a very large iceberg."
Author Robert Elliott, executive vice president, Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. has worked successfully for 20 years with many industries to reduce Workers Compensation costs, including airlines, healthcare, printing/publishing, pharmaceuticals, retail, hospitality and manufacturing. He is an editor and contributor to Workers Compensation Management Program: Reduce Costs 20% to 50%. Contact:
Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker or agent about workers comp issues.
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