Respect Our Retail Workers

March 20, 2020 Media Releases

Media release | 20 March 2020

It is important that everyone remains calm and appreciates the essential service retail workers are providing the community during this difficult period. The reports of abuse and violence directed at retail workers is unacceptable – no one ever deserves to be abused at work and in times like this it is even more disappointing to see such behaviour.

The SDA, the National Retailers Association (NRA) and the Shopping Centre Council of Australia have come together to call on all Australians to treat retail workers with respect while they continue to serve and ensure the community can access essential goods and services such as food and groceries.

National Secretary of the SDA, Gerard Dwyer, is asking customers to give retail workers the respect they deserve while they are shopping over the coming weeks and months.

“The SDA understands that people may be anxious, but we also need to remember that the workers you see at the supermarket and in stores are in the same boat as you. That retail worker is someone’s son, someone’s mother and shouldn’t be the target of abuse.” Mr Dwyer said.

“Abusive and violent behaviour toward retail workers is unacceptable and should not be tolerated, everyone has the right to a safe work environment”

“Thank a supermarket worker on your next trip to the shopping centre or shops”

Dominique Lamb, CEO of the NRA, says retailers are doing everything within their power to accommodate for the changing demands of the public and that panic buying is completely unnecessary. Such a response is only contributing to a tense environment where retail workers are subjected to high levels of abuse and violence.

“It is important to remember that Australia produces and exports an abundance of food and has sophisticated supply chains that will ensure more than enough food is available as the community deals with the challenges of COVID-19.”

“Customers must treat retail workers with the respect they deserve, even if you are feeling a bit overwhelmed by things”

“It is an anxious time but we ask that shoppers be patient as retail staff do their best in difficult circumstances. We ask that police have a strong presence around shopping centres to enforce civility and to deal with anyone being physically or verbally abusive,” Ms Lamb said.

Angus Nardi, Executive Director of the Shopping Centre Council of Australia, said the shopping centre industry is committed to providing a healthy, safe and secure environment.

“Shopping centres provide essential services to local communities in the form of food stores, pharmacies, medical clinics, newsagents and other goods and services. Some centres have seen recent large increases in customers, and there is never an excuse for abusive and disrespectful behaviour towards retail workers.”

The SDA, NRA and SCCA are united in asking for the community to please be patient and respectful to retail workers and remember that know that no one deserves a serve.

Contact: Jim Middleton 0418627066

National Secretary of the SDA, Gerard Dwyer
CEO of the National Retailers Association, Dominique Lamb
Executive Director of the Shopping Centre Council of Australia, Angus Nardi