Scotmid Co-operative, the Scottish Grocers Federation and shopworkers union Usdaw have thrown their weight behind a drive to bring in a new law to further protect shopworkers from assault and abuse.

Daniel Johnson MSP launched his proposal for the new law, which would create new offences for those who assault or abuse workers, at the Scotmid store in Pilrig, Edinburgh this week.

The Member’s Bill proposes creating new offences covering the assault of shopworkers and others involved in the sale and supply of age-restricted goods and services.

Johnson said violence and abuse against workers continued to grow and many workers had told him that they saw it as part of the job.

“I am delighted that the proposal has the support of both Usdaw and the Scottish Grocers Federation, and I want to thank them for their support in getting to this stage. As the Bill makes its way through the parliamentary process, I hope that breadth of support continues,” he said.

Scotmid Co-operative head of profit protection Jim McFedries said: “As a community convenience retailer with a sizeable presence across Scotland, Scotmid would welcome the introduction of new legislation to protect our colleagues from violence and abuse.”

Such incidents happened on “an alarmingly frequent basis” so anything that could help eliminate this type of behaviour was a progressive step.

“We strongly believe our staff should not be subjected to violence or antisocial behaviour when adhering to legal requirements while selling age-restricted goods and simply doing their jobs.”

Stewart Forrest, Usdaw’s Scottish divisional officer, described violence, threats and abuse against workers as “one of the great scourges”.

Usdaw’s Freedom From Fear survey showed that 70% of shopworkers in Scotland had been verbally abused and 42% threatened over the past year. Some 5% were assaulted during the same period, which it equated to about 34 Scottish shopworkers attacked every day.

“All too often criminals who assault staff are not even sent to court; those who are can receive derisory sentences. In other cases, where the offender isn’t even charged, victims are left feeling that no one cares that they were assaulted,” added Forrest.

Pete Cheema, SGF chief executive, said this was perhaps a once-in-a-generation opportunity to create a safer retail environment.

He urged businesses, trade associations and communities to respond positively to the consultation at