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Major Campaign Launched To Combat Abuse Of Retail Workers

Worked in retail and experienced the unnecessary wrath of an abusive customer? You're going to love this!

As Christmas draw nearer, the stress starts to build, and the shopping centres become hectic.

It should be the most joyous time of the year, but for many, it’s stressful, money can be tight and family dynamics are brought to the forefront.

Unfortunately, for 1000s of retail workers all over the country (and the world), going to work during this period can be absolute HELL.

Often, patrons take their frustrations out on employees and are just plain rude. Many are verbally abused and made to feel either incompetent or the size of an ant.

Well there’s some great news!

The Shop Distributive & Allied Employees Association (SDA) has done some research and are doing something about it.

The SDA found that 85 percent of workers in the areas of retail and fast-food industries have experienced abuse at work, and 14 percent have experienced physical violence from a customer.

To combat these horrendous numbers (which should be at zero), the union is today launching a campaign to combat abuse in the workplace, and “develop practical workplace solutions to protect workers”

“Imagine going to work every day knowing you will probably be abused,” said SDA National Secretary Gerard Dwyer. “That’s the reality for thousands of Australian retail and fast food workers and it’s completely unacceptable, not just at Christmas but all year round.”

Stories that came from the research were just as harrowing as the numbers.

“I have had customers throw products at me for simple things, such as a product is out of stock,” one worker said. “I’ve had my face spat in, slapped across the face and had one person throw a punch at me and miss (I dodged). It becomes second nature to know how to defend yourself, even when you’re just selling groceries and providing an everyday service.”

What is even worse is that over 51 percent of respondents to the survey from the SDA said that no action was taken after they reported an incident.

“This Christmas we’re calling on customers to check their behaviour before they get to the checkout.”

“In addition to this major public awareness campaign to change public attitudes and behaviour, the SDA is looking drive industry changes to ensure that customers can’t continue this behaviour and build better protections for retail and fast food workers.”

Be better humans, world! Retail workers are people too!

(Image: SDA Campaign)

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