MP candidate backs shopworkers in the campaign against abuse 

Labour’s candidate for MP for the Filton and Bradley Stoke constituency, Claire Hazelgrove, has backed Usdaw’s ‘Freedom From Fear’ campaign while meeting with local members of the shop workers union at Sainsbury’s in Filton. 

Usdaw’s ‘Freedom From Fear’ campaign calls for the prevention of violence, threats and abuse against workers. Claire heard their concerns about rising shoplifting and the abuse that is increasing along with that. 

Shockingly, results of Usdaw’s recent survey of members showed that – in the last year alone – 65% of retail workers have experienced verbal abuse. Some 42% have been threatened by a customer. Another 5% have been assaulted. And 60% of these incidents were triggered by shoplifting. 

Labour has committed to make a new specific offence of assault against retail workers as part of a direct response to tackling this growing issue. 

After the visit, Claire said: “Everyone has the right to feel safe at work, and the rise in abuse of local shop workers is completely unacceptable. With crime and theft on the rise here in South Gloucestershire, this is also clearly linked to the failures of the current Conservative government and current Conservative Police and Crime Commissioner here in Avon and Somerset to tackle crime and shoplifting. 

“With a third of PCSOs in the South West cut since the Conservatives came to power, the lack of visible deterrent is impacting our communities. That’s why I support Labour’s fully costed plans for putting 13,000 more neighbourhood police and PCSOs the streets, and to make it a specific offence to assault against retail workers. 

“We also need to tackle the issues that make work harder – like the cost of living crisis, childcare that doesn’t work for working people, and long NHS waiting lists that keep people out of work for longer. After 14 years of chances, the Conservatives have failed our communities and – this year – we will all have the chance to vote for a fresh start. 

“If I’m elected as our next MP for the Filton and Bradley Stoke constituency, I will raise these issues in Parliament for local people and, as the party of law and order, we will act.”