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I would like to wish your readers a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year. For many, this is always an exciting time, but we know it can be frantic trying to get everything ready for the big day.

I want to gently remind your readers to remember that shop workers are people as well. They will be working really hard to make your shopping experience as stress-free and enjoyable as possible.

A recent survey showed that every minute of the working day a shop worker is verbally abused, threatened with violence or physically attacked. Shop workers report that incidents are more frequent throughout the Christmas and New Year period when shops are busier, customers can be stressed and are more likely to take out their frustration on staff. We saw examples of this during Black Friday events.

Talking to our members who work in retail, I know that verbal abuse cuts deep. Many will go home after a shift upset about an unpleasant incident that took place at work that day and worried that it will happen to them again.

That is why Usdaw, the shop workers’ union, is running a Respect for Shop workers campaign, asking customers to ‘Keep your Cool at Christmas’. It’s a simple message, but remembering that shop workers are working extra hard at this time and treating them with respect will mean that everyone can have a happier Christmas.

John Hannett

General secretary

Usdaw

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