Show some respect and give shop workers a break this Christmas

shop workers

Helensburgh Co-op from left: Michelle McGinty (MSP staff), Brian (Co-op Helensburgh Store Manager), Jackie Baillie MSP, John Todd (USDAW Area Organiser), Olivia Carson (MSP staff), Alan Campbell (Co-op Regional Manager).

By Lucy Ashton

You want to buy drink in a local shop, but the person at the checkout thinks you might be too young to do that within the law.

Or the checkout person herself might be too young to sell you drink and needs to call in her supervisor to approve your purchase.

But, even if you have had a tough day and you have been hanging around bored rigid, pleased keep your cool.

There is absolutely no need to have “a Ballardie”, which is an old West Dunbartonshire expression for losing the head.

Keep your cool. Have respect for the people who work in the shops and supermarkets – and some self respect too.

The shop workers don’t make the rules about these things. They might not even like them – but they have to implement them or face the prospect of losing their job or being hauled before a court if they don’t.

That’s why Dumbarton constituency MSP, Jackie Baillie, has backed USDAW’s Respect for Shopworkers Week.

The week-long campaign, which is part of the union’s annual Keep Your Cool campaign, which aims to protect shop workers from experiencing abuse and violence.

As part of the campaign, the MSP and supporter Michelle McGinty, pictured below left, mcollected hundreds of signatures from local people at visits to the Co-op in Helensburgh and Morrisons in Dumbarton.

shop workers 2The signatures will form part of USDAW’s national petition which could lead to making  violence towards shop workers an aggravated crime – similar to racial or religious hate crimes.

The MSP said: “Shop workers are being subject to abuse at work on a daily basis up and down the country. Each day, six shop workers are threatened with a knife and two with a gun.

“This is an alarming figure and something that we must work to eradicate. Many of these incidents are as a result of customers being challenged for age-restricted purchases, shopworkers should not expect to go to work and be abused for carrying out their duty.  That is why I’m backing USDAW’s campaign.”

John Todd, USDAW Area Organiser, Scottish Division, said:  “Our campaign aims to raise awareness of the potential abuse and violence that our members are subjected to every time they go to work. Shop workers have a legal duty to challenge people for proof of age on certain restricted items. They should not be abused or assaulted for carrying out this duty.”

Paul Gerrard, Director of Campaigns at the Co-op, said: “Retail crime is often considered to be victimless as people think it only involves a faceless business losing stock or money.

“However, it is not the shop that is left bruised, bleeding or traumatised. This type of crime has nothing to do with profit and everything to do with people.  In the months ahead, we’ll be looking to work with local community groups and other neighbourhood leaders who are engaged in tackling the root cause of crime, to see if we can identify mutual solutions to shared concerns.”


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