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Government again denies the need for tougher laws to protect shopworkers, says Usdaw

THE government has been accused of betraying front-line retail workers by refusing to introduce legislation which would make abuse and violence against them a special offence.

Trade union Usdaw has reported increasing instances of abuse and violence against shop workers.

The union’s most recent figures revealed that 88 per cent have experienced verbal abuse, 61 per cent have been threatened by a customer, and 9 per cent have been assaulted.

The issue has been repeatedly raised in the House of Commons.

Labour MP for Hartlepool Mike Hill MP said in Parliament on Wednesday that Scotland has recently enacted the legislation being sought by Usdaw.

In a question to Justice Secretary Robert Buckland he asked: “Will this government finally ensure that key retail workers in England and Wales are covered by similar specific legislation?”

Mr Buckland said that appropriate sentencing was available to the courts.

Usdaw general secretary Paddy Lillis said: “We are grateful to Mike Hill MP for raising the issue, but deeply disappointed to hear the Justice Secretary claim that existing sentencing is enough of a deterrent, when quite clearly that isn’t the case.”

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