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MP launches consultation on working conditions in Hallam

Olivia Blake has called on the public to submit evidence after several incidents of abuse directed towards shop workers.

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80% of the UK workforce are employed in customer-facing roles.

Tak-Kei Wong on Unsplash.

A Sheffield MP has called on the public to submit evidence on working conditions in her constituency, after a number of incidents where shop workers have faced abuse.

Olivia Blake said she wants to hear from workers in customer-facing roles in her Hallam constituency, including retail and transport workers.

The launch of the consultation comes in the wake of an incident at an Asda in south London, where workers were violently attacked as part of a social media stunt. One woman was hospitalised.

"The attack on Asda workers last month was horrific – and what’s worse is it wasn’t a one-off," said Blake.

"Incidents like this are on the rise. Our frontline workers, who have done so much to keep our communities going over the past year, are facing verbal and in some cases physical abuse on a near daily basis."

The Labour MP is hoping to use the evidence from her consultation to campaign for a change in the law to protect public-facing workers from abuse.

Nearly 80% of the UK workforce are employed in customer-facing roles, and incidents of abuse have been on the rise recently as a result of Covid restrictions, lockdown and pandemic-related conspiracy theories.

Research by the Institute of Customer Service found that more than half of customer-facing staff have experienced abuse from members of the public since the start of the pandemic.

This can range from verbal abuse, such as shouting and abusive language, to physical assaults in extreme cases.

"If you have faced abuse at work – in whatever form – I’d encourage you to please take my survey and share your experience, so I can launch a campaign to tighten our laws and protect all of our frontline workers from abuse in their place of work," said Blake.

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