Tesco bosses are demanding a change in the law to protect shopworkers from verbal and physical attacks by members of the public.
The supermarket says it has seen 7,000 incidents of abuse in the past three months alone.
That’s a rise of 27 per cent on the same period in 2020 and a 43 per cent increase on 2019.
MPs are debating the problem after receiving a petition from USDAW – the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers – with more than 100,000 signatures.
Tesco UK chief executive Jason Tarry said: “Every day our colleagues, along with hundreds of other retail workers, face abuse, threats of violence and are even assaulted, simply for doing their jobs.
“This is not acceptable. Our stores should be safe places to work and shop.”
Writing in a blog, he explained: “While the debate is important in raising awareness of the issue, there is an opportunity to change the law that will increase the protection of shopworkers as they carry out their daily tasks.
“Crucially, in the weeks ahead, members of parliament will be debating an amendment to the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, which would mean Tesco store colleagues, along with all retail workers, would be protected from this violence and abuse.
“We are asking our colleagues to write to their MPs to show support for this amendment to help make it a specific offence.”
The supermarket has already invested in bodycams for security staff as well as installing safety screens at counters in vulnerable stores and in its 24-hour petrol stations.