WEAVER Vale MP Mike Amesbury has been highlighting the high levels of violence, threats and abuse against shopworkers.

Today, Tuesday, Shopworkers’ trade union Usdaw will welcome the Westminster Hall debate on the protection of retail workers, secured by Mike Amesbury.

In June last year, Usdaw responded to the Government’s ‘call for evidence’ showing that from 3,272 retail workers surveyed, more than 60 per cent had been verbally or physically abused.

Almost a quarter described threats of physical violence, with more than half of these involving weapons like knives, syringes or bottles.

Paddy Lillis, Usdaw general secretary, said: "Usdaw has consistently demonstrated the full extent of violence, threats and abuse against shopworkers.

"Eight months ago, alongside a broad range of retail employers, we responded to the Home Office ‘call for evidence’ and jointly called for action to tackle this growing problem.

"We hope that the Government will use the opportunity of today’s debate to detail how they intend to tackle this growing problem.

"Our message is clear; abuse is not a part of the job.

"We continue to call for stiffer penalties for those who assault shopworkers and the introduction of a simple stand-alone offence that is widely recognised and understood by the public, police, courts and most importantly criminals.

"Retail staff have a crucial role in our communities and that role must be valued and respected- they deserve the protection of the law."

A joint letter to the Home Secretary and other ministers recommends tougher sentences for those who attack shopworkers, changes to the out of court disposals system and a full review into the response of police forces to incidents of violence in retail.

The debate will take place at 4.30pm today.