Press Release

Extend Christmas Cheer to Shop Workers, Says Assembly Committee

Session: 2011/2012

Date: Monday, 29 November 2010

Reference: E&L 06/10/11

The spirit of Christmas should be extended to shop workers who perform an important role in the festive period. The message, from the Northern Ireland Assembly Committee for Employment and Learning, comes after a meeting with the shop workers union, the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers (USDAW), at Parliament Buildings.

Union representatives presented shocking statistics on the abuse that their members take as they provide a service to the public, with threats of violence being reported by 77% of local USDAW members.

Chairperson of the Employment and Learning Committee, Dolores Kelly MLA said: “My Committee was truly shocked at the scale of violence detailed to us. Shop workers work very hard to provide all of us with an important service and deserve to be treated with respect. We all know that shopping, particularly at Christmas, can be a difficult time, but we must value those who are there to help us.

“We were so shocked by the scale of violence and intimidation that was recounted to us that we have now tabled a Motion in the Assembly. This will be debated on Tuesday 30 th November. It pledges support for the “Freedom from Fear” campaign organised by USDAW and calls on the Minister for Employment and Learning to pursue the issues raised by the campaign with his Executive colleagues.

“We believe that this is an issue that all MLAs can support and we urge them to do so.”

Notes to Editors:

USDAW was appearing at the Employment and Learning Committee’s weekly meeting to give evidence on the treatment of their members.

The Committee Chairperson is Mrs Dolores Kelly MLA

Deputy Chairperson: Mr Jonathan Bell MLA

Committee members: 
Mr. Sydney Anderson MLA 
Mr. Paul Butler MLA 
Rev. Dr. Robert Coulter MLA 
Mr. Chris Lyttle MLA 
Mr. David McClarty MLA 
Mrs. Claire McGill MLA 
Ms. Sue Ramsey MLA 
Mr. Pat Ramsey MLA 
Mr. Peter Weir MLA

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