Usdaw launches Respect Week

Shopworkers' union Usdaw will launch its first Respect for Shopworkers Week after research revealed more than 1 million store staff have been attacked, threatened or abused at work in the past nine years.

The publicity drive, from July 5 to July 11, is part of the Freedom from Fear campaign launched by Usdaw two years ago in an attempt to improve safety for retail staff, and follows on from a one-day event that ran last year. Usdaw members plan to petition, hold street events and host other promotional activities.

'Last year, we had events in about 100 locations across the country, and it went down really well with members, who appreciated the chance to raise an important issue in their local shopping areas,' said an Usdaw spokesman.

During the drive, the union will publish research to show the scale of the violence against shopworkers in the UK. According to Usdaw, a shopworker is the victim of physical assault, threat of violence or verbal assault 'every minute of the working day'.

The union fears that the problem may be even worse, because many incidents go unreported. Usdaw general secretary John Hannett said: 'One in 10 workers is employed in retail. They should not go to work in fear of being a victim of violence or abuse.'

Usdaw has 330,000 members and is the UK's fifth biggest union.