Revealed: one in seven women shop workers fear daily commute

by - 8th March 2012, 7.30 BST

Usdaw has today revealed that one in seven of its women members have safety concerns about their journey to and from work.

In a report released today called ‘What’s happening on your journey to work‘, Usdaw has published the results of a survey of its members which shows:

* One in seven women workers sometimes feel unsafe travelling to and from work.

* Women members are twice as likely to feel unsafe on their journeys to and from work as men.

* Women aged over 60 are twice as likely to feel very unsafe when travelling as women aged under 24.

* More than half of all women express concern about walking across dark car parks compared to less than a third of men.

* Women are twice as likely as men to feel at risk driving alone at night or travelling by bus or train when dark.

* Over half of all women feel anxious about their personal safety when walking in the dark.

Usdaw, the majority of whose members work in the retail sector, launched the survey after it became increasingly clear that many of its women members had concerns about their journeys to and from work. Many of the union’s members have shift patterns which mean they need to travel to and from work in the early morning or late at night and as a result are often travelling in the dark and when public transport is quieter or even non-existent.

As a result of the survey, the union has launched a campaign to provide its members and reps with advice and support on how they can make journeys to and from work safer, advice that includes how to raise concerns and negotiate with employers on the issue.

General secretary John Hannett said: “For the vast majority of workers, travelling to and from work is a safe experience, although at times it can be frustrating and expensive. However, it is of great concern to Usdaw and it should be for employers and policymakers that such a significant number of workers, whether they are women or men, can feel unsafe on their way to and from work.”

“Usdaw has led the way in campaigning to improve safety at work for our members through, for example, our very successful Freedom From Fear campaign against violence and abuse. But it’s clear we also need to campaign to reduce any fear of travelling to and from work and do all we can to try and make those journeys safer.”

“As the relentless drive to a 24/7 society continues unabated, this issue is going to have to be addressed more seriously by employers, policymakers and politicians, particularly as evidence is beginning to emerge that the impact of government spending cuts is actually making the situation worse.”