Meeting staff at the Co-operative Store
in Brook Street
Recently I was pleased to meet staff at the Co-operative Group store in Brook Street in my ward. I was very concerned when the manager told me about the number of incidents of violence, threats and abuse faced by staff in that local store.
I often shop at the Co-op in Brook Street and I was appalled to hear about number of incidents of violence, threats and abuse faced by staff there. I was told that the shop had recorded more than one incident a day in a three month period. I was pleased to hear about the Co-operative Group's Safer Colleagues, Safer Communities campaign run by the Co-operative Group. I fully support this campaign.
I am a member of the shop-workers union Usdaw and I support their campaigns to protect retail workers.
I do not think that the Co-op in Brook Street is in some way unusual, this is a problem faced by retail workers in shops across the country. I am clear that we must have a zero tolerance approach to the abuse of shop workers.
I also support the Members' Bill being put forward in the Scottish Parliament by Daniel Johnson MSP which would make it an aggravated offence to threaten a shop worker or to be violent to a shop worker. Politicians, including councillors, have put more and more responsibilities on to retail workers for example on stopping underage alcohol sales. Often whilst politicians are safely at home it is retail workers on the front line being threatened for refusing to serve an underage person with alcohol for example. We need to recognise that in effect there are many times when shop workers are operating as law enforcement officers and they should be given the same protection as other law enforcement officers.
With regard to the Co-operative Shop at Brook Street I have spoken to Police Scotland about my concerns and also to Dundee City Council's Community Safety team looking for greater support for the staff there.
I am clear that violence, threats and abuse should never be part of anyone's job. I will work locally with all shops and with Police Scotland and Community Safety workers to protect shop workers and shoppers.