Violence & abuse | Tesco worker implores Government to legislate increased worker protections

Tesco worker implores Government to legislate increased worker protections

A retail worker, currently employed by grocery giant Tesco, has called on the Government to introduce a new law offering greater protections against violence or abuse at work.

The worker, Jennifer Whyte, launched the appeal in the form of a petition on, which has currently garnered over 15,000 signatures.

“We are calling on the Government to make violence or abuse against retail workers a standalone criminal offence,” the petition’s manifesto reads.

“This is necessary to send a strong signal to victims and perpetrators; to give workers the legal protection they deserve; and to tackle the scourge of abuse plaguing the retail sector.”

The appeal comes after many high-profile cases of retail workers being harassed or abused have hit headlines in recent months.

The British Retail Consortium’s recent crime survey found that violence and abuse against retail workers has almost doubled from more than 450 incidents per day in 2019-20 to over 850 last year.

Among the many thousands of supporters to the potential new bill is Tesco’s UK CEO, Jason Tarry, who recently told Retail Gazette: “I am fully behind the petition to make the abuse of retail workers a standalone offence. We want our colleagues to be safe at work.

“Creating a standalone offence not only sends a strong message to the small but violent group of people who abuse and attack shopworkers, but also makes it clear to shopworkers that as a nation we take protecting them seriously”.

Regardless of the Government’s stance on the proposed new law, ensuring that workers can operate in a safe and healthy working environment is a fundamental part of HR’s remit.

All workers are protected by the Employment Rights Act 1996, against suffering any harm because of any reasonable actions they take on health and safety grounds, according to information from the HSE.

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