- Posted by: Joyce Watson MS
- Category: Feature
AM voices shop staff safety concerns ahead of Respect for Shopworkers Week, 7–11 November
SHOPWORKERS Union USDAW and local Assembly Member Joyce Watson have teamed up to campaign against police cuts and raise awareness about violence against shop staff.
At an event at the National Assembly for Wales (8 November), the Mid and West Wales AM was joined by Carmarthenshire County Councillor for Hendy and USDAW representative Steve Lloyd-Janes. Mrs Watson branded the UK Government’s police budget cuts “a threat to shopworkers’ safety.”
The Union has produced a leaflet and petition against the cuts and are using Respect for Shopworkers Week, which takes place 7–11 November, to urge shoppers and members of the public to back their campaign and sign the petition.
Dyfed-Powys Police has previously warned it is likely to cut up to 350 jobs because of budget reductions of 5.1% in 2011/12 and 6.7% in 2012/13.
USDAW General Secretary John Hannett said fear of violence and verbal abuse “should never be accepted as just a part of the job.”
“Under the Labour Government, violent incidents against shopworkers halved because of investment in 12,000 additional uniformed police officers. Does anyone really believe that by cutting frontline policing, crime will continue to fall – as it did with Labour? I fear that when these cuts bite we will be left with a much less effective police force that will be grossly under-staffed and terribly demoralised,” he said.
Joyce Watson said: “I am appalled that every day shopworkers are assaulted, threatened or abused for simply doing their job.
“High profile policing is crucial to keeping workers, shoppers and everyone safe in our communities and that can only be achieved through proper support and investment. Dyfed Powys Police has warned that it will have to make significant cutbacks in staff and I am very concerned about the effect on local crime levels.”
She added: “Retailers and their staff provide a tremendous service, especially in the run-up to Christmas, when demand is very high and stores are busy. They deserve respect.
“I hope that everyone gets their Christmas shopping done with the minimum of stress and I would ask that if customers are fortunate enough to look under 25, that they will take it as a compliment, not an inconvenience, when they are asked for ID.”