SHOP staff across Coventry and Warwickshire have seen ‘shocking’ cases of verbal and physical abuse throughout lockdown.
Central England Co-op revealed stores in Leamington, Rugby, Solihull, Coventry and Stratford were among those to see staff threatened and attacked.
Incidents included staff threatened with being coughed on and given coronavirus, threats because stores had run out of products and staff spat on while marshalling queues into stores because it was taking too long.
It is now calling on government to introduce legislation to protect workers.
Central England Co-op chief executive Debbie Robinson said: “These uncertain times have brought to the fore how our colleagues in stores are key workers and critical to all of our everyday lives.
“However, despite this, we continue to see rise upon rise of incidents where our colleagues are verbally threatened or even worse physically abused just for doing the job – something that has only risen during the outbreak.
“This is not acceptable, and we will not tolerate any kind of abuse to our colleagues and we also urge government to work harder to recognise the people itself has recognised as being of vital importance to our daily lives.
“Their amazing contribution now needs to be recognised by a change in law so anyone who takes the decision to cross the line with our colleagues knows that retail crime is taken seriously.
“This is an industry-wide problem. We need change and we need it now.”