The COVID-19 pandemic has led to increasing levels of violence against workers. Shop workers and transport staff are just some of those affected.
The Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers (USDAW) said that many more shop workers have been assaulted, threatened, or abused at least once a week since the start of the crisis.
A survey it carried out based on 4,928 responses from shop workers across the UK, shows that between 14 March and 17 April 2020: 62.28% were verbally abused, 29.07% were threatened, 4.01% assaulted.
When extrapolated over circa 3,000,000 retail workers, this amounts to over 3,538 assaults per day.
Usdaw believes this is an underestimation because the survey analysis assumes each respondent was only assaulted once and it was conducted in mainly larger trade union organised stores, which tend to be safer than smaller non-unionised workplaces.
USDAW called for new legislation and harsher sentences.
General Secretary Paddy Lillis said: “It's unacceptable for any walk of life and it needs to stop.”
“There has to be something tangible there that the criminal knows if he attacks a worker, if he assaults and abuses a worker, he will face the full rigours of the law,” he said.
Tube union RMT has also demanded action from bosses over rising levels of violent assaults after another horrific incident at Warren Street Station.
The incident, which included severe levels of physical violence and the suspect forcing his way into the control room and continuing his assault, is the latest in a line of similar violent acts against tube workers.
Previous incidents include a well-documented and horrific assault at West Ham last year. RMT has been demanding assurances on the safety and security of staff in control areas.
RMT Senior Assistant General Secretary Mick Lynch said;
“Friday afternoon has seen yet another serious assault on tube workers, this time at Warren Street, and the level and frequency of violent incidents appear to show no sign of slowing down."
Pat Harrington, general secretary of Solidarity, commented:
"Violence against shop workers, transport workers, police and health professionals and indeed any worker is unacceptable. I note that under the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 and offence can be deemed racially-aggravated and attract a heavier sentence as a result. I would like to see a similar legal provision dealing with attacks on workers carrying out their duties."