About Usdaw 

Usdaw is the UK's fifth biggest trade union with over 400,000 members. Most Usdaw members work in the retail sector, but the union also has many members in transport, distribution, food manufacturing, chemicals and other trades.  

Visit our website for more information: 

Freedom From Fear 

Usdaw’s long running Freedom From Fear Campaign works to prevent violence, threats and abuse against workers. Results of last year’s Freedom From Fear Survey show that over the past year over two-thirds of shopworkers were verbally abused, 41% were threatened and over 400 were assaulted every day. These are significant increases on last year’s survey with abuse and assaults up by 25%.  


During the Covid-19 pandemic, Usdaw members have been on the frontline, ensuring the nation has been provided with food and essential supplies like medicine. Our Coronavirus survey shows that average UK shopworkers have been verbally abused, threatened or assaulted every week during the Coronavirus emergency. The union’s 2019 survey found that average was nearly once a fortnight, so incidents have doubled in the last month. 

While not all shopworkers suffer to this extent, some experience much worse with 1 in 6 being abused on every shift. Usdaw’s survey of 4,928 shopworkers shows that since the Coronavirus outbreak:  

  • 62% of UK shopworkers experienced verbal abuse, 
  • almost a third were threatened by a customer 
  • 4% were assaulted, which amounts to more than 3,500 every day when averaged across all retail workers. 

Last year shop workers told Usdaw that the highest ranking flashpoints were shoplifting (30%) and age restricted sales (29%), which had consistently been the case for many years of surveying. During the pandemic, the highest rated were enforcing social distancing (68%), queueing to get in store (50%), lack of stock (46%), face coverings (42%), and limiting sales (41%).

Sign Our Petition 

It’s clear that there is a real need for the Government to act, to give retail workers the protection they deserve, and show that abuse is not and should never be part of the job. Over 67,000 people have signed our petition calling for a new law to help protect retail staffbut the Government have refused to debate it at this point.  

Help us get to 100,000 signatures and get the issue debated in Parliament: 

Promoted by Joe Fortune on behalf of the Co-operative Party, both at Unit 13, 83 Crampton Street, London, SE17 3BQ, United Kingdom.
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