Industry hits back on customer abuse

The Shop, Distribution and Allied Employees Association (SDA) recently held the second roundtable tackling the customer abuse epidemic in retail and fast food outlets.

“Any type of abuse on the job is completely unacceptable, and when you have 85 per cent of retail staff reporting they have been subjected to verbal abuse from a customer and 14 per cent reporting physical violence – you know we’ve got an epidemic on our hands,” SDA National Secretary, Gerard Dwyer said.

Who is sitting at the roundtable?

The National Customer Abuse & Violence Industry Roundtable brought The Australian Retailers Association (ARA) and the National Retail Association (NRA) to the meeting, along with major employers, industry peak bodies, NGOs and government organisations.

“By bringing together employers and important stakeholders, we’re aiming to create industry-wide solutions,” Mr Dwyer said.

Raising awareness and reducing the risk:

The first roundtable took place in March 2018, and since then a number of movements have been taken into action:

  • Launch of “Don’t Bag Retail Staff” advertising campaign calling out customers in regards to their single-use bag ban frustrations.
  • New SDA fast food specific advertising campaign raising awareness about abuse of fast-food workers.
  • SDA briefing of Federal and State Members of Parliament and Senators about the issue.
  • Meetings with relevant state or territory agencies including police and government safety regulations.

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