Zero-tolerance approach to shop staff abuse needed: Retail NI

Retail NI agrees with UK trade union USDAW that "the physical and verbal abuse of shop workers has dramatically increased during the pandemic"

Retail NI has raised issue with assistant chief constable Alan Todd, and is also seeking a meeting with Justice Minister Naomi Long to discuss tougher sentences

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25 August 2020 | 0

Retail NI has called for a zero-tolerance approach to verbal and physical abuse of shop workers and called for stiffer penalties for those who assault retail staff. The business group’s call comes as shop workers trade union, the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers (USDAW) revealed that abuse of staff has doubled during the pandemic.

“We completely agree with USDAW that the physical and verbal abuse of shop workers has dramatically increased during the pandemic,” said Retail NI chief executive Glyn Roberts.

Roberts stressed that at the height of Covid-19 many retail workers put their own health at risk to ensure food and other vital products were available for the people of Northern Ireland.

“Sadly, we have picked up further instances of abuse of shop staff in the last week since the mandatory wearing of face coverings was introduced,” he said.

Retail NI described the physical and verbal abuse of shop workers as “totally unacceptable”. The association called for a zero-tolerance approach to such abuse, adding that it fully supports tougher penalties or indeed sentencing for those guilty of such behaviour.

The association has recently raised the issue with assistant chief constable Alan Todd, and is also seeking a meeting with Justice Minister Naomi Long to discuss tougher sentences for those guilty of assaulting staff.

“I want to make another appeal to shoppers to show respect, courtesy and understanding of the difficult job that retail staff are doing during this pandemic. Please, just be kind to retail workers,” Roberts said.



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