As the Protection of Workers Act comes into force, Edinburgh Southern MSP Daniel Johnson – who proposed the welcome new law – sets out his hopes and ongoing commitment to ensuring enforcement in this special blog for the Don’t Put Up With It campaign.
My Protection of Workers Act coming into law on the 24th of August is a victory for retail, its staff and customers. For too long retail workers have not been given the same protections as those in every other sector and the cases of abuse and assault just kept increasing throughout the covid pandemic.
I aim to continue the fight to ensure my Bill is properly enforced and would like to take the opportunity to thank the SGF in all its helpful engagement with me from the very beginning of this process and I look forward to continuing this partnership into the future.
The passage of my Bill represents a victory for all retail staff subjected to abuse on a daily basis, an
abuse that many within the sector took as part of the job.
This enactment can begin the process of changing the culture in our shops, be they large or small, that assaulting the person behind the counter somehow isn’t serious and that it won’t be handled by the police.
In order to uphold confidence, we need to see proper enforcement. It not only needs to be enforced, but it also needs to be seen to be enforced. That those using violence and assault to workers are seen to be penalised by the full powers of the law. It has to ensure a culture change in society. One where retail staff aren’t just expected to put up with abusive and violent customers.
My Bill now arrives on the scene at a time of real pain for the retail sector. Covid and the resulting lockdown has decimated the industry.
Those workers who have done so well to keep the shelves stocked at the beginning of the
pandemic now look likely to suffer the most at the end.
This isn’t fair. We start the process of supporting our retail sector by making sure they have the same protection of the law while undertaking their duties as everyone else. Even within the UK, only Scotland has specific worker protection legislation. We can then start to ensure we build back better.
I’m sure I can count on stakeholders such as the SGF to work with me again on making this a