Customer lunged at shop worker for ‘looking at her the wrong way’

A retail worker in Merseyside said a customer launched at her after apparently 'looking at her the wrong way'.

Retail trade union leader Paddy Lillis has today launched a parliamentary petition calling for legislation to protect shop workers from violence threats and abuse.

In support of the petition North West shop workers have been speaking out about their own experiences.

In Cheshire, one shop worker said they had a tin thrown at them after a mistake.

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They said: "[I was] spat at in the face by a thief, had a tin of beans thrown at me over incorrect prices and [was] kicked in the side by an older customer before calling me names."

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In Lancashire, one said: "[There have been a] few instances of verbal abuse and aggression.

"Some extremely selfish behaviour, causing pressure and stress which has taken its toll. I haven’t had time off because of this, but I have come close."

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And in Merseyside a customer went to hit a shop worker, they said: "One customer threw themselves over the counter to hit me as she felt I looked at her the wrong way.

"[And] no one following the instructions and won't stay in the two metre zones.”

Paddy Lillis, Usdaw General Secretary said: "It is heart-breaking to hear these testimonies of shop workers who deserve far more respect than they receive.

"Abuse should never be a part of the job and we are appalled that violence, threats and abuse have doubled during this national emergency.

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“The safety of our members is absolutely paramount, but they tell us that some of the shopping public are resisting safety measures in stores and can become abusive when asked to queue, maintain social distancing or reminded to wear a face mask.

"Our message to the public is that there is no excuse for abusing shopworkers, please treat our members with the respect they deserve.

“In light of the unacceptable increase in abuse of shopworkers, there needs to be urgent action to help protect staff and we urge the Government not to dismiss our petition, but listen to the voices of shopworkers and legislate for stiffer penalties for those who assault workers.

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"Retail staff have a crucial role in our communities and that role must be valued and respected, they deserve the protection of the law."

The petition is lodged on the parliamentary website and calls on the Government to legislate to protect shop workers.

It can be signed at: