New law to protect Falkirk's shopkeepers

Retail staff will be protected from violence, threats and abuse by new legislation which has now become law in Scotland.

By James Trimble
Wednesday, 20th January 2021, 12:47 pm
Updated Wednesday, 20th January 2021, 12:59 pm

Retail trade union Usdaw welcomed the recent unanimous vote in the Scottish Parliament to pass the ground-breaking Protection of Workers (Retail and Age-Restricted Goods and Services) (Scotland) Bill.

Stewart Forrest, Usdaw Scottish divisional officer said: “We are grateful for the support of MSPs and congratulate Daniel Johnson MSP on securing ground-breaking legislation to protect shop workers from violence, threats and abuse.

“Retail staff have been on the frontline throughout the coronavirus crisis, helping to keep our communities fed, despite the risks of contracting the virus. The results of our 2020 survey showed nine in ten shop workers had been abused last year.

Kebabish fell victim to a customer's drunken rampage last summer

“This new law firmly backs up Usdaw’s clear message that abuse is not part of the job. We are now looking to work with the Scottish Government, police and retailers to promote the new law.

“We want criminals to understand assaulting and abusing shop workers is unacceptable and will land them with a stiffer sentence. Our hope is that this new legislation will result in retail staff getting the respect they deserve.”

The news will be welcomed by Falkirk area shopkeepers – including staff at Kebabish in Grahams Road, Falkirk and Bowhouse Newsagents in Bowhouse Square, Grangemouth.

On July 21 last year a customer’s drunken rampage in Kebabish caused around £4000 of damage and made the news after the footage was recorded by staff.

A week before on July 15, a man, who subsequently admitted behaving in a threatening manner and was dealt with at Falkirk Sheriff Court, entered Bowhouse Newsagents just after 4pm.

He asked for 20 cigarettes and some rolling tobacco. When he was asked to pay for the items by the shopkeeper at the time he replied he only had £4, which was not sufficient to pay for the items.

The shopkeeper told him he couldn’t give him the items as he couldn’t pay and the man immediately became hostile, shouting racist abuse at the shopkeeper before punching the shop’s cigarette display, causing it to fall to the floor and smash.