South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth has welcomed the news that the Scottish Parliament voted for the Protection of Workers (Retail and Age-restricted Goods and Services) (Scotland) Bill to be made law.
The 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 Bill has the support of all the political parties as well as the Usdaw and GMB Unions, the Co-Operative Party and retail groups including the Scottish Grocers Federation (SGF) and the Scottish Retail Consortium (SRC). Colin Smyth has been campaigning on this subject for many years and was a signatory to the Bill.
According to shopworkers union Usdaw, fifteen retail workers are assaulted on an average day in Scotland. In a given year one in three shopworkers will be threatened, and three in five abused. Usdaw estimates that instances of violence, threats and abuse have doubled since the pandemic in March.
Colin Smyth said: “This is an important milestone for workers’ rights and I was proud to be a signatory to Daniel Johnson’s bill.
“For far too long retail workers have been expected to put up with abuse and in many cases violence. That many see that as just part of the job is completely unacceptable. This change in the law will give retail workers the protection they deserve.
“This pandemic has seen retail on the front line; performing critical roles, supplying the basic essentials to all of us and keeping us safe as we do so. With us now living under another national lockdown, it’s more important than ever that our essential retail workers are properly supported.
“It was clear from the consultation on the Bill that there is public support for this move and I am delighted that it will now become law.”