Media release | 17 March 2020
The union representing retail workers, including supermarket workers, has called on the local community to remember to keep their cool and respect workers when hitting the shops over the coming days and weeks.
SDA – the union for retail, fast-food and warehouse workers – National Secretary, Gerard Dwyer, said that reports of workers being abused and harassed by upset customers are disappointing and unacceptable, especially during a time when our communities need to be supporting each other more than ever.
“We understand that many people in our community are worried at present, but we also need to remember that the workers you see at the supermarket and other places are in the same boat as you. We’re all in this together,” Mr Dwyer said.
“These are our neighbours stocking our shelves and manning our cash registers. They are also your friends’ sons and daughters, your colleagues’ partner or parent. Sometimes we’ve all just got to step back and remember that.
Australia is a large food producer and exporter, so we need to remain calm as a community – people are not going to be going without food. Panic buying is not necessary and is not helping as we work to contain COVID-19.
“Our union branches right across the country have reported significant increases in calls in relation to customer abuse lately, which is obviously very disappointing.
“It’s critical that we all remember to treat workers with the respect they deserve, even if you are feeling a bit overwhelmed by things.
“The frontline workers that you see when you walk into a shop are just out there do a great job in difficult times.
“No one should be abused simply for doing their job. Sometimes we all just need to be reminded of that.”
Media contact: Alana Mew, 0419 929 722