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From: The Socialist issue 937, 22 February 2017: Support the NHS? Join the march!

Search site for keywords: Retail - Workers - Zero-hour contracts - Socialist Party - Socialist - Tax credits - Minimum wage - Low-paid

Organise to reverse 28% rise in violence against retail workers

Shop workers' union Usdaw campaigns against violence at work

Shop workers' union Usdaw campaigns against violence at work   (Click to enlarge)

Leon Wheddon, Wirral Socialist Party

News that violence against shop workers has gone up by 28% in a year will come as no surprise to those who've worked in the industry. The British Retail Consortium reports that half of retail workers have been verbally abused, and over 8% assaulted.

With cuts to staffing levels, an increase in automation and increases in zero-hour contracts, many workers are alone and vulnerable at work. Some, often themselves desperate as a result of austerity, know this and use it as an opportunity to commit robberies. Hardened criminals can also take advantage, meaning more assaults, safe in the knowledge they stand little chance of being caught and prosecuted.

Shop-floor staff bear the brunt of everything as they are often the only visible person for a customer to vent on.

A staff member will be set unrealistic targets and threatened by managers determined to ring every ounce of profit from some of the most vulnerable and low-paid workers in Britain.

Often this happens in the so-called 'big four' supermarkets where 'the customer is always right' even if they are violent. We subsidise these multibillion-pound companies through tax credits to their poorly paid workers.

The Socialist Party says no to zero-hour contracts and exploitative conditions. We demand an end to bag and locker searches, of having to stand by unpaid while this indignity happens. We demand a minimum wage of 10 an hour regardless of age or employment status.

Everyone should have the right to work with dignity and without fear of abuse.

Donate to the Socialist Party

Coronavirus crisis - Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • Our 'fighting coronavirus workers' charter', outlines a programme to combat the virus and protect workers' living conditions.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our special coronavirus appeal.

Please donate here.

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