South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth has welcomed the news that the Protection of Workers (Retail and Age-restricted Goods and Services) (Scotland) Bill looks set to pass an important milestone and receive the unanimous support of the Scottish Parliament when it is debated at Stage 1 on Thursday.

Colin Smyth has been campaigning on this subject for many years, alongside union Usdaw, and hopes the Bill, if made law, will help to protect our retail workers in going about their day to day jobs without the fear of assault or abuse.

The private members bill was brought forward by Labour MSP Daniel Johnson and will create a new statutory offence of assaulting, threatening or abusing a retail worker and provide further legal protections when the worker is carrying out their statutory duties such as age restricted sales.

The Stage 1 debate and vote on the general principles of the bill will take place on Thursday and will be followed by two more legislative stages before it can be made law.

Colin Smyth said: “This is an important milestone for workers’ rights and I would like to congratulate my colleague Daniel Johnson in bringing forward this bill.

“Passing this bill into law will provide an important recognition of the key duty shopworkers have in upholding the law and the issues they face doing so. Most critically, the pandemic has seen people working in retail performing critical roles, supplying the basic essentials to all of us and keeping us safe as we do so. This bill pays an important tribute to these efforts over the last six months.

“It is clear from the consultation and work that there is clear public support for the Bill and I hope to see it clear the next two stages in the Scottish Parliament and become law.”

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