Tatton MP Esther McVey is supporting the British Retail Consortium campaign (BRC) and said the 8,500 shopworkers in her constituency should not be in fear of attack when they go to work.
The BRC wants more protection for workers from abuse and violence and launched its Shopworkers’ Protection Pledge calling for action.
She said: “It is absolutely disgusting that people who are doing their job are being attacked whether that be verbally or physically. Our shopworkers have worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic ensuring we all had food and things we needed and to learn abuse has gone up is appalling.
“We must do everything we can to support them and show them how much we value what they do.”
The BRC also want a specific offence introduced for attacking a shopworker.
There are more than 400 incidents of violence and abuse against retail staff every day. Common triggers include challenging shoplifters, enforcing age restricted sales and implementing social distancing and other coronavirus safety measures.
Ms McVey added: “I am very pleased to be supporting the BRC in trying to get better protection for workers. We should send out a strong message that anyone guilty of assault will face a hefty jail sentence. No one should go to work in fear of violence or abuse in the workplace.”
Chief Executive of the British Retail Consortium Helen Dickinson said: “Every day, hundreds of hardworking retail staff are subjected to violence or abuse in their place of work. These incidents leave physical and emotional scars, and affect not only the victim, but also their families, colleagues, and communities. Sadly, existing law, meant to protect these workers, is not fit for purpose, and many of these heinous crimes continue to go unpunished.
“We are calling on MPs from all parties to come together and sign the Shopworkers Protection Pledge. On behalf of the three million people who work in retail; their families and their communities, there is one simple message: doing nothing is not an option.”
Last week shop workers union Usdaw said violence and abuse against shops workers had doubled throughout the pandemic. It reported shop workers had been assaulted, threatened or abused at least once a week on average since the start of the Coronavirus outbreak compared to once a fortnight last year.