Mandate Trade Union, which represents 30,000 workers in the retail sector, has received worrying reports of increased abuse towards shop workers in recent weeks. The union is calling for customers to respect essential frontline workers, including those working in shops in what is the most stressful time of the year.
Mandate General Secretary Gerry Light explained that Christmas is always a difficult time for retail workers, but the prolonged nature of the Covid-19 pandemic and the recent spike in numbers is clearly exacerbating the stress levels this year.
“We are asking customers to have heightened levels of awareness of the difficulties facing shop workers. Abuse is not part of the job and it costs nothing to show respect and support to the workers who have kept our shelves full throughout the pandemic,” said Mr Light.
He added: “Shop workers have been on the frontline and were the hardest hit cohort during the second and third waves of the virus. There’s no doubt that they have been impacted heavily by this current wave too. The least they deserve is a bit of patience and respect.”
Mandate is also renewing its call on employers to adopt a zero tolerance approach in the application of all health and safety / shop safety guidelines.
“We have seen videos of customers verbally abusing workers in recent days. Employers must do all they can to support their staff when this happens,” said Mr Light.
“Employers need to ensure that Covid guidelines are adhered to in order to protect the health of their staff and the public principally by ensuring that shop workers are not put in the firing line by requesting customers to wear masks or to social distance. It is the employers responsibility to ensure there is adequate hand sanitizer and that there are no overcrowding issues,” said Mr Light.