Media Release Industry first – major employers, shopping centres and unions pledge to eradicate customer abuse for good

October 14, 2019 Media Releases

Media Release

Industry first – major employers, shopping centres and unions pledge to eradicate customer abuse for good

In an industry first, retail and fast food employers, peak retailer groups, shopping centres, regulators, government and unions are joining forces to eradicate customer abuse in Queensland shops, and across the country.

The SDA’s industry statement has been signed by a range of industry groups including the National Retailer Association, the Australian Retailers Association.

The statement has also been signed by major employers including Coles, Woolworths, Kmart, Hungry Jacks, Bakers Delight, Myer, David Jones, The Reject Shop, and many more. All signatories to date can be found on the statement here:

The Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees Association (SDA), Queensland Secretary, Chris Gazenbeek said “We’re proud to see so many employers – large and small – signing this commitment in support of ending customer abuse in their workplaces.

“This is an important and unprecedented move to tackle the customer abuse epidemic in Australia.

“Employers need to be taking a zero tolerance approach towards customer abuse.”

“Any type of abuse on the job is completely unacceptable, and when you have 85% of retail staff reporting they have been subjected to verbal abuse from a customer and 14% reporting physical violence – you know we’ve got a crisis on our hands.” Mr Gazenbeek said.

National Retailer Association CEO, Dominique Lamb said “The NRA is delighted to provide unqualified support to this initiative from the SDA to end customer abuse towards retail staff.

“NRA members across Australia are committed to ensuring that their workers operate in a safe environment, with a culture of mutual respect between employee and customer.”

“Our members cannot succeed without hardworking and dedicated employees, that’s why we’re proud to stand with other industry stakeholders in ending customer abuse towards workers.”

“It’s greatly concerning that 78 per cent of retailers who the NRA has surveyed across Australia believe that abuse towards workers is increasing.

“Employers have an important role to play in providing workplaces that see their workers treated with basic dignity and the NRA is committed to doing its part in achieving this.”

The statement pledges support for the eradication of customer abuse and violence, as well agreeing to encourage and facilitate the reporting of all forms of customer perpetrated abuse and violence towards workers, including sexual harassment and assault.

SDA Queensland Secretary, Chris Gazenbeek said, “It’s encouraging to see such widespread concern and involvement from a range of employers, and we hope that this leads to actions which reduce the amount of abuse retail and fast food workers are experiencing.

“No one should have to go to work only to have to put up with abuse.” Chris Gazenbeek said.

The statement has been released today as the SDA kicks off their Safety Demands Action Week.

“This week we’ll be out in stores across Australia talking to workers about workplace health and safety – particularly our priority of reducing customer abuse and how workers can be part of the journey towards a solution.”

The SDA has conducted research in 2017 and 2018 revealing the widespread abuse from customers being experienced by both retail and fast food workers.

The SDA’s “No One Deserves a Serve” campaign first launched across Australia in 2017 to raise awareness about the realities of customer abuse. [Materials including research data and visual assets available below]

“This abuse can severely impact their physical and psychological health and it cannot continue. Everyone has the right to a safe work environment.”

“I’m thankful to every organisation who has signed the statement to date, and I encourage others to jump on board and help us end customer abuse.” Chris Gazenbeek said.

Current list of signatories to the SDA’s industry statement include:

  • API (Priceline)
  • Australasian Association of Convenience Stores Limited
  • Australian Liquor Stores Association
  • Australian Retailers Association (ARA)
  • Australian Society of Rehabilitation Counsellors
  • Bakers Delight Holdings Limited
  • Best & Less
  • BP Australia
  • Bunnings
  • Brural
  • Coles Supermarkets/Express/Liquor/Online
  • Communicorp
  • David Jones
  • EG
  • Forty Winks
  • Gallagher Bassett
  • Harris Scarfe
  • Hoskings Jewellers
  • Hungry Jacks
  • icare
  • Kentucky Fried Chicken Pty. Limited
  • Kmart
  • Myer
  • National Retailers Association (NRA)
  • Ollies Place Kidswear
  • Original Mattress Factory
  • Procare Group
  • Rest
  • SDA National
  • SuperFriend
  • Target
  • The Reject Shop
  • Woolworths Group
  • WorkCover Queensland
  • Worksafe ACT

Media Contact:

SDA Queensland: Rose Bailey 0418 781 524