Treat retail workers with respect this Christmas

Supporting essential frontline workers means respecting shop workers.

Source: Dublin City Library and Archive | Twitter.

Mandate trade union has called for customers to respect essential frontline workers, including those workings in shops, and for employers to adopt a “zero tolerance” approach in the application of health and safety guidelines.

The trade union, which represents 30,000 workers in the retail sector, has reported receiving accounts of increased abuse towards shop workers in recent weeks. While Christmas is always a difficult time for retail workers, the prolonged nature of the Covid-19 pandemic and the recent spike in numbers is exacerbating stress levels this year, according to the union.

“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 Gerry Light, Mandate General Secretary.

“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.”

The renewed call on employers to adopt a “zero tolerance” approach to health and safety guidelines comes in the wake of the union seeing videos of customers verbally abusing workers.

“Employers must do all they can to support their staff when this happens,” said 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.”