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Jane Imrie

Business leaders call on UK government to protect retail workers following new rules in Scotland

Business leaders across the UK have called on the government to protect retail workers from abuse following new rules in Scotland.

The Protection of Workers Act comes into force in Scotland today (August 24) - making the assault or abuse of retail staff a standalone criminal offence.

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) and union Usdaw have urged the government to introduce similar rules across the rest of the UK in a bid to protect retail workers.

According to the BRC’s annual crime survey, the number of violent or abusive incidents rose to 455 a day between April 1 2019 and 31 March 31 2020, in comparison with 424 in the previous year.

BRC chief executive, Helen Dickinson, commented: “It is incomprehensible that despite Holyrood’s decisive action, the UK government has so far failed to provide the same protections to shop workers in the rest of the UK.”

The news follows an open letter sent to the Prime Minister last month, signed by 100 retail bosses. Leaders of brands such as Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Aldi and Ikea signed the letter which stated that the situation “cannot be allowed to get any worse”, and that there was “a clear need now for better protection in law for retail workers”.

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