A bill calling for assaults on shopworkers to be treated as severely as those on fire officers or paramedics has been proposed in the Scottish Parliament.

The bill, brought by Hugh Henry MSP, proposes that the assault of shop staff should be recognised as an aggravated crime, as it is for emergency service employees under the Emergency Workers Act 2005.

Henry said: "Violent physical assaults against workers serving the public in Scotland are all too common. Progress has been made in strengthening criminal penalties for assaults against some workers, but too many still lack sufficient protection at work.

"The Emergency Workers Act 2005 sought to provide additional protection to certain groups of workers," he added. "The proposed legislation seeks to apply these protections to any worker who provides a face-to-face service to the public."

Retail workers' union USDAW said the bill was badly needed. "Shopworkers provide a vital service to the public, but are too often seen as an easy target for abuse," said general secretary John Hannett. "Our latest survey showed that one in 10 shopworkers has been assaulted while at work. We have already started campaigning for a similar law in England and Wales."