Retail Workers Face Surging Violence Epidemic in Scotland with Nearly One in Five Attacked Last Year

Glasgow, Scotland – Recent findings from a survey conducted by the retail trade union Usdaw indicate a troubling trend in Scotland’s retail sector. Nearly one in five shopworkers in Scotland reported experiencing a violent attack in the past year, marking a significant increase from previous years. The survey, which included responses from over 5,500 retail staff, revealed a distressing rise in incidents of physical and verbal abuse directed at workers.

According to the report, instances of violence towards shopworkers have more than doubled in the last year, with 18% of respondents reporting being subjected to a violent attack in 2023 compared to just 8% in the previous year. The survey also highlighted a rise in threats and verbal abuse, with nearly half of shop workers reporting being threatened by customers and 70% experiencing verbal abuse.

Shopworkers across various regions in Scotland shared harrowing accounts of facing aggression and hostility from customers. Incidents ranged from being pushed, punched, and grabbed to being verbally assaulted and threatened. Many workers expressed feeling shaken and fearful of returning to work following such encounters.

Paddy Lillis, Usdaw General Secretary, condemned the violence and abuse faced by retail staff, emphasizing the need for greater protection and respect for workers. Lillis emphasized that no one should feel afraid to go to work, and called for stronger measures to safeguard shopworkers from such incidents of violence and abuse.

In response to the survey findings, concerns have been raised about the escalating levels of violence and abuse in the retail sector, with calls for enhanced measures to address the safety and well-being of shopworkers. The rise in incidents of theft from shops has also been noted as a contributing factor to the overall increase in violence towards retail staff.

The findings from the survey align with recent reports from industry organizations, which have highlighted a concerning rise in violence and abuse against shopworkers. These reports underscore the urgent need for comprehensive strategies to address the root causes of retail crime and ensure the safety of those working in the sector.

As the retail sector grapples with the growing challenges posed by incidents of violence and abuse, stakeholders are calling for collaborative efforts to implement effective solutions that prioritize the well-being of shopworkers. The issue of violence against retail staff is a complex and multi-faceted problem that requires a coordinated approach from both industry stakeholders and policymakers to ensure a safe and secure working environment for all.