Shopworkers ATTACKED With Syringes In UK Supermarkets

Shopworkers ATTACKED With Syringes In UK Supermarkets

Supermarket Workers Face Alarming Increase in Violence and Abuse

Supermarket workers are experiencing a disturbing rise in violent and abusive behavior from customers, according to a recent report. The GMB trade union's survey of 1,000 members employed by supermarket giant Asda revealed that one in three workers had been attacked while on the job.

Shocking Incidents Reported

The survey detailed several alarming incidents, including delivery drivers being chased by cars and confronted by naked customers. Store workers reported having watermelons and joints of gammon thrown at them, and some even faced attacks with syringes.


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One particularly distressing account described how a delivery driver was chased in his vehicle, highlighting the increasingly dangerous conditions for supermarket employees.

Prevalence of Injury and Illness

The GMB survey, set to be discussed at the union’s annual congress in Bournemouth, also revealed that three out of five respondents had suffered injury or illness due to their work. This highlights the severe physical and psychological toll that such abusive incidents are taking on supermarket staff.

Calls for Action

Nadine Houghton, a GMB national officer, emphasized the gravity of the situation: “These incidents are horrifying - no one should have to suffer this kind of abuse and violence at work. But this situation is only going to get worse as staff hours are slashed, leaving fewer people in store and those who are there more vulnerable.”

Asda’s Response

An Asda spokesperson acknowledged the rise in violence and aggression towards their employees over the past few years. The company has invested over £30 million in upgrading CCTV systems, providing body-worn cameras for staff, hiring additional security guards, and adjusting store opening times when necessary.

“We work with all of our colleague representatives in the important area of colleague security and also back calls for violence or abuse against retail workers to be made a standalone criminal offence in all parts of the UK and hope this is a priority for any incoming government,” the spokesperson added.

Legislative Measures

Earlier this year, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced that assaulting a shop worker would become a standalone criminal offence, carrying a maximum sentence of six months in jail and/or an unlimited fine. This new measure is part of a broader initiative to combat theft and protect retail workers.

Industry-Wide Concern

The British Retail Consortium reported a doubling of losses from theft to £1.8 billion and a significant increase in daily incidents of violence or abuse towards shop workers, rising from 870 to 1,300. This data underscores the urgent need for stronger protections and measures to ensure the safety and well-being of retail employees.

As the issue of violence against retail workers gains more attention, it is clear that both legislative action and improved security measures are crucial to safeguarding those who keep our supermarkets running.

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