A debate will take place in Westminster Hall at 6.15pm tonight after a petition relating to the protection of retail workers received over 100,000 signatures. The Co-operative Party, alongside the Co-operative Group and wider co-operative movement, shop workers’ union USDAW, and others across the retail sector, are working together to secure stronger protections for shop workers and tougher penalties against those who assault or threaten them.
Before the Covid-19 pandemic, it was estimated that across the country around 250 shop workers were attacked every day – just for doing their jobs. During the pandemic, shop workers’ union USDAW estimates this has doubled, with issues such as panic buying, social distancing and face mask requirements acting as a flashpoint for abuse and violence. Luke Pollard MP will be unable to attend tonight’s debate because Westminster Hall debates are restricted to backbenchers only, but he has put his support for this campaign on the record.
This is a key area for the Co-operative Party, and Luke Pollard MP has given his full backing to this campaign, urging fellow MPs to attend the debate.
“Nobody should have to face violence in the workplace, or be subjected to abusive behaviour simply for doing their job. I recently visited the Co-op supermarket on Regent Street in Plymouth, and some of the stories I was told by workers there shocked me.
“Thanks to everyone who signed this petition – it’s brilliant that we now have this debate to discuss retail workers’ rights, and I would most definitely attend if I was allowed to. I would urge all Members of Parliament to turn up and join the conversation if they can.”