Cambridge shopworkers need protection during the coronavirus crisis says Daniel Zeichner MP after new figures show a 9% increase in violence against shop workers according to a survey by the British Retail Consortium.

After shocking scenes in busy supermarkets as customers stockpile and argue, Daniel Zeichner MP has joined the trade union Usdaw to call for everyone to show respect to shopworkers.

Like everyone else, shop workers are facing serious worries about the possible impact of the coronavirus on them and their families. They are experiencing this worry at the same time as dealing with extremely high demand, coming into contact with hundreds of people every day, and working flat out so that customers can buy the things that they need.

Retail workers will play an essential role in getting the country through this crisis and they need your support.

Daniel Zeichner MP said: “A few weeks ago I met a group of shop-workers from a number of food stores across the city, and their accounts were shocking. They had all been threatened, verbally abused, and in too many cases, physically assaulted. One woman told me that, in her view, it is only a matter of time before she is stabbed, either in the shop, or on her way home. Now the pressure is reaching fever pitch.

“It is high time for the Government to act by providing proper penalties for those who assault workers; a simple stand-alone law that is widely recognised and understood by the public, police, CPS, the judiciary and, most importantly, criminals. In the mean time I will continue to put pressure on the Police and Crime Commissioner to make sure that Cambridge criminals are arrested and if a shop worker calls the police they get a much speedier response. Shop workers are on the front line at the moment, and they deserve to go to work every day safe in the knowledge that they will not be attacked or made to feel unsafe.”

Paddy Lillis – Usdaw General Secretary added: “Usdaw and the retail employers have been calling, for some time, on the Government to support legislation to protect shopworkers from rising levels of violence, abuse and assaults. We have always made the case that retail staff are at the heart of our communities, but with the current coronavirus crisis we would argue that they are essential workers.”

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