Respect shopworkers, says Usdaw

The leader of Usdaw has called for a calm and orderly Black Friday as shoppers look to grab a bargain.
The leader of Usdaw has called for a calm and orderly Black Friday as shoppers look to grab a bargain.

Shopworkers’ trade union leader John Hannett has called for a calm and orderly Black Friday (November 25) as millions of shoppers are set to take advantage of what is now described as the biggest discounting day of the retail year.

Problems with Black Friday started in 2013 and continued in 2014. So Usdaw conducted a survey of shopworkers which showed that the 2014 Black Friday sales resulted in a two-thirds increase in incidents of verbal abuse, threats and violence against retail staff.

Usdaw used this evidence to pursue the concerns of our members with employers and work with them to take action to minimise abuse and thankfully last year was a much quieter and respectful day.

John Hannett – Usdaw General Secretary says: “Our members have real concerns about Black Friday. After two years of unprecedented scenes of mayhem in some stores, as bargain hunting turns into a frenzy, we discussed safety issues with retailers. They responded positively by organising their events to maximise safety and security for staff and customers alike. Consequently last year was a vast improvement on previous years.

“Incidents of violence, threats and abuse against shopworkers are already worryingly high, interim figures from this year’s survey suggest that nearly half of shopworkers were verbally abused last year and a quarter were threatened. Almost 10% of shopworkers have been assaulted and worryingly nearly a third of them don’t report the incident.

“My message to shoppers is clear. Enjoy your bargain hunting, keep your cool and respect shopworkers.”