Shopworkers 'faced abuse' over coronavirus safety measures

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Safety measures put in place to protect both customers and shopworkers from Covid-19 became “flashpoints” for abuse of staff.

That is according to Dave McCrossen, deputy general secretary of the shopworkers union Usdaw, who said a “significant” minority of customers abused and threatened shopworkers.

But he said most people supported the efforts put in place in supermarkets and other stores.

He told the “virtual” TUC Congress: “Sadly, we were shocked to see Covid-safe measures, that were introduced to keep staff and shoppers safe, becoming flashpoints for abuse from some customers.

“Usdaw’s research shows that thousands of retail workers faced abuse. Of even greater concern, we found that verbal abuse of shopworkers doubled during the crisis and out of 5,000 retail workers surveyed, 200 had been physically assaulted.

“Key workers on the frontline, encouraging people to follow basic safety measures deserve better.”

The union has launched a petition calling on the Government to make it a specific offence to abuse, threaten or assault a shopworker, which has been signed by more than 60,000 people.

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