New campaign to combat abuse against retail workers

Major industry bodies have partnered in a new campaign for the festive period to combat rising abuse and violence against retail workers.

The Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees Association (SDA), the National Retail Association (NRA), and the Shopping Centre Council of Australia (SCCA) have partnered on the campaign titled ‘No One Deserves a Serve’ which will run across digital media in shopping centres.

Lindsay Carroll, Deputy CEO of the NRA, said retailers employ 1.3 million retail staff in Australia, and staff need to feel safe and protected in their workplace.

“We as an industry are jointly calling for policy reforms to clearly demonstrate that any abuse towards retail employees will not be tolerated. It is critical we demonstrate to offenders that they ‘are not welcome’ if they intend to abuse, assault or harm anyone.”

The ‘No One Deserves a Serve’ campaign will be run across more than 3,100 digital screens in over 150 shopping centres, home to over 28,000 retailers, from the start of November through the busy Christmas trading period.

The industry bodies have also made a shared commitment to work together, and partner with governments, to address the issue of abuse and violence towards retail workers, and will focus on the following key pillars:

  • Ensuring that retail and fast-food workers and retailers report incidents of abuse and violence and retail crime to police;
  • The need for Governments to review deterrence and enforcement policies particularly in relation to potential and recidivist offenders, and aggravated assault;
  • Ensuring technology can be used in an appropriate manner to deter offenders, prevent abuse, violence and crime, and to assist law enforcement; and
  • Enhanced information sharing and collaboration between retailers, shopping centres and government agencies to improve community safety.

Gerard Dwyer, National Secretary of the SDA, said customer abuse and violence is a serious workplace health and safety issue for retail workers across Australia.

“Research shows that more than 85 per cent of retail workers report being abused on the job with young workers, women and workers from diverse backgrounds being disproportionately singled out for mistreatment.

“Retail workers are under more stress and pressure during the Christmas season – we’re asking all shoppers not to take out their festive frustrations on the workers who are there to help make your shopping experience a pleasant one.”

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