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Media Release | 14 March 2018

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  • 14th March 2018

Retail and fast food workers union hosts roundtable to tackle customer abuse epidemic

 

The SDA is bringing together major employers, industry peak bodies, NGOs and government organisations from across Australia to focus on Australia’s customer abuse epidemic.

The National Customer Abuse & Violence Industry Roundtable to be hosted by the SDA on Thursday, will involve discussions with major employers including Coles, Woolworths and McDonalds, industry peak bodies such as the National Retail Association and government organisations including WorkSafe Victoria.

The SDA National Secretary Gerard Dwyer said “we hope that by bringing together employers and important stakeholders, we can create industry-wide solutions to this customer abuse epidemic.”

“85% of retail staff reported they had been the subjected to verbal abuse from a customer in the last 12 months and 14% reported they had experienced physical violence.”

“This is completely unacceptable and it’s time that unions, business, government and community groups came together to talk about how we can stop it.”

“It’s encouraging to see such widespread concern and involvement from a range of employers, and we hope that this translates into a strong set of short-term and long-term solutions to reduce customer abuse and protect retail and fast food workers.”

The SDA research, released in December 2017 revealed widespread abuse of retail and fast food workers from customers. 

Since the release of this research, the SDA’s “No One Deserves a Serve” campaign was launched across Australia to raise awareness about the realities of customer abuse. [Materials including research data and visual assets available below]

“Retail and fast food workers have told us they routinely have customers swearing and yelling at them, spitting in their faces or threatening them, simply for doing their jobs.”

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

“We hope this roundtable will provide a range of solutions to reduce the amount of abuse that retail and fast food workers receive from customers, because copping abuse should not be part of the job”

“I applaud employer’s support for reducing customer abuse in their workplaces as evidenced by their attendance to this important roundtable” Mr Dwyer said.

Organisations attending the National Customer Abuse & Violence Industry Roundtable include:

  • The Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees Association
  • National Retail Association
  • Shopping Centre Council of Australia
  • Coles
  • Woolworths
  • BeyondBlue
  • Worksafe Victoria
  • McDonalds
  • Bunnings
  • Myer
  • The Salvation Army
  • ALSA (Australian Liquor Stores Association)
  • API (Priceline)
  • QSR
  • The Reject Shop
  • Target
  • Kmart
  • Retail Food Group
  • iCare

No One Deserves A Serve: SDA Survey Results

 

From December 2016 to February 2017 the SDA conducted an online survey about abuse and violence experienced by retail and fast food workers at work.

Over 6,000 retail and fast food workers responded to our online survey.

Key facts from the survey:

  • Over 85% of respondents have been subjected to verbal abuse from a customer in the last 12 months.
  • 24% of respondents subjected to verbal abuse say it happens every week.
  • 34% of respondents said they had felt threatened by a customer 1-2 times in the last 12 months.
  • 14% of respondents have experienced physical violence from a customer.
  • 12% of respondents said the incidents of customer abuse or violence involved behaviour by a customer that was sexual in nature.
  • 62% of respondents said customer abuse was generally perpetrated by both male and female customers.
  • 65% of respondents work on cashier/front end/service/registers.
  • 74% of respondents are female.
  • 64% of respondents said they had not received any training in the last 12 months on how to deal with threatening situations that includes abusive or violent customers.
  • 51% of respondents said no action was taken after they reported an incident.

SDA WA - The Union for Workers in Retail. Fastfood. Warehousing

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Testimonials

The SDA organisers are always there to help, If I have a question no matter how important or unimportant I think its is, I just call them and they help me...It's that simple!  


When people join together and be part of the union we are helping each other have support and rules for work, I dont want to be the one standing alone!  


It’s peace of mind, it’s just like ringing a friend and knowing they are there for you plus they know all the answers.  


S – Someone to help when things aren’t right D –Doing a great job getting the best deal for members A – And lots of fun, games, competitions and discounts!!  



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