Violence, Threats and Abuse Not Part of the Job

Meeting staff at the Co-operative Store
 in Brook Street
I am concerned about the number of attacks on and threats made to retail workers.  

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.

Call for action over shocking deprivation figures

I am calling for action over the latest Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation (SIMD) figures published today by the Scottish Government.  These statistics are shocking. We must remember that they are not just statistics they represent lives which are blighted by poverty.  It is disappointing to see the Scottish Government describe Dundee as having a 'relatively high level of deprivation.'  We must do all that we can to deal with these problems. In Dundee 38% of the population live in areas which are classed as being within the 20% of the most deprived areas in Scotland.

I know that many people are working hard to alleviate poverty in Dundee.  These figures should send a stark message that more needs to be done.  We cannot just accept this as a fact of life we need to use all the powers available to the City Council, to the Scottish Government and to the UK Government to have as our aim the eradication of poverty.  I want to look at what needs to be done to update our anti-poverty strategies and find ways to make a real difference.

We must also accept that the SIMD is only one measure of poverty.  Over half of the people on low incomes in Scotland do not live in the 20% most deprived areas of Scotland.

We must be focused on the eradication of poverty and of dealing with consequences of poverty.  I want the council to take concerted action to make this happen.  Our priorities should be the eradication of poverty, the creation of jobs and improving educational attainment for our young people.