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Christmas Shoppers Urged to be Kind to ‘Unsung Heroes’, Shop Worker Victims of Abuse

Published on: 3 Dec, 2020
Updated on: 6 Dec, 2020

PCC David Munro

A national campaign has been launched to encourage Christmas shoppers to treat retail workers with kindness over the busy festive period.

As shops reopen from today (December 3) those on the frontline could face some shoppers frustrated about rules on wearing masks and keeping social distancing.

The retail trade union Usdaw has found that during the pandemic, every minute of the working day somewhere across the country a shop worker was verbally abused, threatened with violence or physically attacked.

The #KeepingChristmasKind campaign is being backed by Surrey’s Police and Crime Commissioner David Munro.

A moving film has been made about the campaign, supported by PCCs across the country, which includes testimony of shop workers and their families describing the abuse they have suffered during the pandemic: “I worry about Sammie most days when she goes to work. She had a flare pulled out on her recently, it’s so scary.”

“My dad’s had beer thrown at his face and has been physically assaulted, it’s not okay.”

“My mum is just trying to do her job. I’m worried about her safety.”

The film shows real people who have put themselves at risk working in essential shops.

Mr Munro said: “Our shop workers have provided an essential service to our communities during the pandemic which is why it is so sad to see the levels of abuse and sometimes violence they have been subjected to.

“Many of them have been unsung heroes during this time, helping to keep the country running, providing vital supplies and human interaction for people who may otherwise have been isolated and struggling.

“Nobody should go to work fearing they will be mistreated and three-quarters of shop workers say incidents of violence, threats and abuse have been worse during the pandemic. This is simply unacceptable.

“So please remember to show kindness to the shop workers on the festive frontline who are going above and beyond to keep us all going this Christmas.”

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