Rotherham MP backs Co-op's demands for laws to protect shop workers after 'shock' rise in incidents

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
Government ministers are being urged to bring in new laws to protect shop workers after a 'shocking' rise in the number of staff being threatened during the coronavrus pandemic.

Co-op bosses say that crime has risen in its stores this year, despite praise for the important role played by retail workers during the coronavirus crisis,.

The grocery giant said staff have faced 'unnacptable' threats of verbal and physical abuse, including being spat at and threatened with being “given coronavirus”.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Debbie Robinson, Central England Co-op chief executive, said: “These uncertain times have brought to the fore how our colleagues in stores are key workers and critical to all of our everyday lives.

Sarah Champion MP Sarah Champion MP
Sarah Champion MP

"However, despite this, we continue to see rise upon rise of incidents where our colleagues are verbally threatened or even worse physically abused just for doing the job – something that has only risen during the coronavirus outbreak.

"Today we tell people this is not acceptable, and we will not tolerate any kind of abuse to our colleagues and we also urge the Government to work harder to recognise the people itself has recognised as being of vital importance to our daily lives.”

Read More
'Covid19 has shone a very bright light on inequality'

Now, Rotherham's MP Sarah Champion is backing the Co-ops bid for the Government to introduce new legislation to better protect key workers in its stores.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

In a letter to Co-op staff Sarah Champion MP said: “As a regular shopper at the Co-op, I would like to say a personal thank you to all the staff who go above and beyond to make the experience as safe and efficient as possible. I know the threats, changes and restrictions surrounding Covid19 have put a huge additional burden on staff and I am grateful that you have carried on regardless.

"I am appalled that some people have taken this moment to increase the harassment and abuse shop workers face. Zero tolerance should be shown to anti-social behaviour, but during this pandemic we need stronger action.

"I am supporting the Co-op’s call to the Government to introduce new legislation to better protect key workers in its stores following shocking rises in incidents of staff being threatened with being coughed on and given Coronavirus. I am truly sorry that you have to endure this, and I will do all I can to eliminate this awful additional stress.”

Editor's message: Thank you for reading this story. The dramatic events of 2020 are having a major impact on our advertisers and thus our revenues. The Star is more reliant than ever on you taking out a digital subscription to support our journalism. You can subscribe here for unlimited access to Sheffield news and information online. Every subscription helps us continue providing trusted, local journalism and campaign on your behalf for our city.

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.