Man in Spiderman Outfit Attacks Store Staff, Union Calls for New Laws

  • A UK union has called for tougher laws to protect retail workers after a London store scuffle.
  • A man disguised as Spiderman kicked a store worker before hitting her to the ground.
  • Acts of aggression against store workers have increased since the start of the pandemic.

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A UK union is calling for tougher laws to protect retail workers after a man in a Spiderman suit kicked a store worker before hitting her to the ground.

The mass brawl in a south London supermarket left six people injured. Videos of the attack then appeared online.

London Metropolitan Police told Insider they had arrested five people in connection with the incident.

A spokesperson for the former Walmart-owned Asda supermarket chain, where the incident happened, told Insider he was working closely with the police.

“We do not tolerate any form of violence or abuse towards colleagues or clients,” they said.

Labor unions say this is not an isolated incident.

“Attacks on retail workers are on the rise. Parliament must act now to toughen the law,” said Mark Wilkinson, lead organizer of the GMB union, which represents more than 600,000 workers, on Friday.

UK retailers have called on the government to strengthen laws to protect workers. In July, a group of 100 retail businesses signed a letter urging Prime Minister Boris Johnson to take action.

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Acts of assault on customers have increased in the UK and US since the start of the pandemic – staff are in the awkward position of having to control the wearing of masks in stores or enforce rules social distancing. Some are leaving retail jobs in search of better pay and better working conditions, which is helping to fuel a labor shortage.

Passenger violence against aircraft workers has also increased. A Harvard psychologist told Insider’s Avery Hartman it was linked to consumers’ feelings of anxiety and fear during the pandemic.

Consumers “soar very high in cortisol,” Luana Marques, associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, told Insider’s Hartman. They have reached “boiling point,” she said.