Keep cool and respect shopworkers during Boxing Day sales, urges union as abuse figures revealed

Boxing Day sales
Boxing Day sales

Shoppers have been urged to keep cool and respect store workers during one of the most frantic shopping days of the year.

Shopworkers’ trade union leader John Hannett has called for shoppers to keep their cool and respect shopworkers every day, but particularly during the Boxing Day sales when bargain hunting can turn into a frenzy.

On average more than 5% of shopworkers suffer violence, threats and abuse every day across the UK, according to an Usdaw survey of 2,500 retail staff. That amounts to 180,000 daily incidents, but that can dramatically increase when the shops are busy and there are special promotions.

Mr Hannett, who is general secretary of Usda, said: "We would prefer retailers to close for at least two days at Christmas, which would allow shopworkers a proper break and time to spend with their family.

"However more and more shops are now opening for special sales promotions on Boxing Day, so we urge retailers to only staff those stores with employees who have volunteered to come in.

“Incidents of violence, threats and abuse against shopworkers are already worryingly high, so my message to shoppers is clear. Enjoy your bargain hunting, keep your cool and respect shopworkers.”

Usdaw (Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers) is the UK's fourth biggest and the fastest growing trade union with 440,000 members.

Interim results of Usdaw’s Freedom From Fear Survey:

The survey was conducted in face-to-face interviews of 2,536 shopworkers by Usdaw reps who asked them to talk about their experiences at work over the last twelve months.

How often have you been a victim of verbal abuse?

1-3 times 33%, Monthly 8%, Weekly 8%, Daily 3% Total abused 52%

How often have you been threatened by a customer?

1-3 times 24%, Monthly 4%, Weekly 1.5%, Daily 0.5% Total threatened 30%

9% have been a victim of physical violence from customers, 2.13% in the last twelve months and 22.5% didn’t report it to their employer.

For further information please contact David Williams, Usdaw’s Media Officer, on 0161 249 1469, 07798 696 603 or

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