Scotmid have supported Daniel Johnson MSP in our Pilrig store with his proposed Private Members Bill lodged to the Scottish Parliament designed to protect shop workers, marking the beginning of the three-stage scrutiny process.
The Bill would create a separate offence and a statutory aggravation for the assault and impediment of a retail worker carrying out age-restricted sales and be similar in scope and rationale to the Emergency Workers (Scotland) Bill that safeguards staff of the emergency services in their duties.
Currently, workers dealing with age-restricted sales are personally liable for upholding the law, but do not receive the same level of protection as other professions, such as Police officers, Border staff and tax collectors.
The bill as drafted would also extend to non-retail staff such as delivery drivers and those working in hotels.
After a lengthy consultation and with cross-party support, the Bill will now be scrutinised by one of the Committees of the Scottish Parliament before a final vote by MSPs.
Daniel Johnson MSP linked up with the store manager of our store in Pilrig (370 Leith Walk, Edinburgh), Lauren Farwell and with representatives from the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers (USDAW), Community and Unite Trade Unions, along with the Scottish Grocers Federation (SGF), the Scottish Retail Consortium, The Scottish Co-Operative Party, and the Federation of Independent Retailers to raise awareness of his Bill.
Daniel Johnson MSP said: “I am delighted to see my bill formally lodged in the Scottish Parliament today, it marks the start of the process of parliamentary scrutiny and the prospect of bringing legal protection for retail workers that the growing evidence of violence and abuse makes clear is needed.
“Abuse and threatening behaviour should not be part of the job, and with the busy Christmas shopping season fast approaching it is now more important than ever that this is recognised.
“I believe this bill will secure the rights of all those who feel threatened at their place of work and will make it clear that such behaviour will not and should not be tolerated. Everyone has a right to feel safe at work wherever they work.
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank USDAW, the SGF and all those other trade Unions and organisations that have worked with me and look forward to speaking with Parliamentary colleagues as the bill makes its way through the necessary Parliamentary stages.”
Jim McFedries, Scotmid Co-operative’s Head of Profit Protection, said: “Scotmid fully supports and welcomes the introduction of new legislation which will protect our colleagues from violence and abuse.”
“Throughout this process, we’ve backed Daniel Johnson MSP’s Private Members Bill because it is time to put a stop to these alarming incidents that happen in our stores and across the industry.
“As a community convenience retailer, we strongly believe our staff should not be subjected to violence or anti-social behaviour when they are simply just doing their jobs.”
Paddy Lillis, Usdaw General Secretary, said: “Violence, threats and abuse against workers is totally unacceptable and we want the Scottish Government to act by supporting Daniel Johnson’s Bill. The statistics are shocking, showing that on average a Scottish shopworker can end up on the wrong side of a verbal or physical assault more than once every three weeks. Our message is clear, abuse is not a part of the job.
“There needs to be a simple stand-alone offence that is widely recognised and understood by the public, police, the judiciary and most importantly criminals.”
Dr Pete Cheema OBE, SGF Chief Executive, said: “On behalf of the 5,000 convenience stores in Scotland we want to thank Daniel for his unwavering determination to get this Bill to Parliament.
“As we have said strongly and consistently: this represents a once-in-a-generation opportunity to create a safer environment for retailers, customers and communities. We will do everything we can to encourage MSPs to support the Bill.”
Caption (left to right): Scotmid Head of Profit Protection and Security Jim McFedries, USDAW Divisional Officer, Glasgow Office, Stewart Forrest, Scotmid Pilrig store manager Lauren Farwell, Daniel Johnson MSP and Scotmid Regional Business Manager Campbell Lochrie.