Ashfield MP says there is no excuse for any form of abuse against shopworkers

Online shopping might be on the rise, but I don’t think there is any replacement for going into a shop, having a good look round and getting advice from the staff before you buy something, writes Gloria De Piero MP.

Shockingly, a recent campaign by the Union of Shop, Distribution and Allied Workers (USDAW) highlighted that there has been a 40 per cent increase in incidents of violence against shopworkers since 2016.

Gloria De Piero MP

Gloria De Piero MP

Moreover, one in six retail staff who have been assaulted don’t even report it.

There have been an estimated 230 assaults on retail staff every day in 2018.

I am sure you are all as horrified by these results as I am, so as the stress of Christmas shopping hots up, I urge everyone to think about what they do and say to shopworkers.

Nobody deserves to go to work to be abused – physically or verbally – and it is in all of our power to put a stop to this right now.

As a former journalist and as a local resident, I have the utmost respect for the job that the Chad does the area’s local newspaper.

It plays an essential role communicating what goes on in our community and I am always struck by the number of people who tell me they read this column.

The news that Johnston Press, the company that owned the Chad and hundreds of other newspapers, was going into administration was extremely worrying.

Research has shown that towns where daily local newspapers had shut suffered from a ‘democracy deficit’ with decisions by local authorities left unscrutinised, reduced community engagement and increased distrust of public bodies.

We definitely do not want that happening here.

The company has now been taken over and thankfully the Chad’s future is safe for now.

However, this should act as a warning sign about the stability of the local media sector.

If we value the job local newspapers do, we should give them the all support we can, and the Government needs to look at what it can do to ensure the long-term viability of the regional press.