27 September 2023

Shop campaign to counter retail rage

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Worksafe ACT and Access Canberra have joined with the shop workers union, SDA, to launch a new campaign encouraging shopping customers to ‘check their behaviour before heading to the checkout’ during the busy Christmas festive season.

The campaign, No One Deserves a Serve, follows findings in 2017 that 90 per cent of ACT fast food and retail workers reported being verbally abused by a customer in the previous 12 months.

Minister for Employment and Workplace Safety, Rachel Stephen-Smith said this was not acceptable and very troubling.

“I think many Canberrans will be shocked that our fast food and retail workers are subject to physical and verbal abuse at their place of work — places that many of us also visit regularly and where our friends, family and neighbours work,” Ms Stephen-Smith said.

“Abuse shouldn’t be in a day’s work and when it is it can have severe, long lasting impacts on the worker and their colleagues’ psychological and physical health.”

She said abusive behaviour could escalate in periods of stress around the festive season.

“I’d like to remind our community to treat all workers with respect,” she said.

Ms Stephen-Smith said retail and fast food workers had reported customers swearing and yelling at them, spitting in their faces or threatening them.

“Everyone has the right to do their job in a safe environment and in partnership with the SDA, WorkSafe ACT and Access Canberra will be providing information to workers that this behaviour is not OK and where and how they can get support,” she said.

“To further support accessibility of this important information, the materials will be available in Simplified Chinese, Hindi and Vietnamese.”

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