Scotland politics

Bid to get more protection for shop and bar workers

Man with knife

An MSP is launching a consultation on his plan for a new law to protect shop and bar workers from violence.

Daniel Johnson is seeking views on a member's bill to create new offences around the assault and abuse of workers who sell age-restricted items such as alcohol and cigarettes.

The Labour MSP said such violence and abuse is at a 10-year high.

The Usdaw union, the Scottish Grocers' Federation and retailer Scotmid are backing the plan.

Speaking ahead of the launch in Edinburgh, Edinburgh MSP Mr Johnson said: "I am pleased to be launching the consultation for a bill which will provide additional protection to workers.

"The issue of violence and abuse against workers continues to grow, and many workers have told me that they now see it as just part of the job. My bill aims to provide legislative solutions, by creating new offences for those who assault or abuse workers.

"I would encourage anyone who can to contribute to the consultation at www.notpartofthejob.com and have their say on how we can protect workers."

'Policing the law'

Usdaw said its analysis showed that 70% of shop workers in Scotland were verbally abused and 42% were threatened over the past year.

Scottish divisional officer Stewart Forrest said urgent action was needed.

"Shop workers are on the frontline of policing the law on the sale of alcohol, knives, glue and acid. Parliament has given shop workers the responsibility to police those laws, so parliament should provide shop workers with the necessary protection.

"Retail staff have a crucial role in our communities and that role must be valued and respected."

Scottish Grocers' Federation chief executive Pete Cheema said: "Daniel's proposed legislation represents a unique - perhaps a once-in-a-generation - opportunity to create a safer retail environment for staff and customers.

"We are delighted to be supporting the consultation and would urge businesses, trade associations and communities to respond positively to it."

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