Last week was Respect for Shoporkers Week, and I popped into Straits Parade Co-op in Fishponds on Friday, where I met with staff and Usdaw representatives.

Abuse and violence are sadly a common experience for too many shopworkers, and this has got particularly bad this year as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, with customers arguing about mask wearing and social distancing, and staff trying to calm things down. It’s shocking to hear that some Bristol stores are hotspots for incidents. Staff shouldn’t be scared to go to work in our local shops.

Along with Usdaw and the Co-op, I am backing Alex Norris MP’s Assaults on Retail Workers (Offences) Bill, which would treat offences as aggravated when perpetrated against retail workers, leading to tougher penalties. The Government needs to support retail staff by backing this Bill too.

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