The union that represents Ireland’s shop workers has appealed to the public to respect retail staff over the Christmas period. Fórsa has backed the call, which came after Mandate said it had received worrying reports of increased abuse towards shop workers in recent weeks.
The union, which represents 30,000 workers in the retail sector, is calling for customers to respect essential frontline workers, including those working in shops in what, for them, is the most stressful time of the year.
Mandate general secretary Gerry Light said Christmas was always a difficult time for retail workers, and this had been underlined by the prolonged nature of the Covid-19 pandemic. He said the recent spike in case numbers was exacerbating stress levels this year.
“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,” he said.
Mandate points out that shop workers have been on the frontline throughout the pandemic, 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,” said Mr Light.
Mandate has also renewed its call on employers to adopt a zero-tolerance approach in the application of all health and safety guidelines.
“We have seen videos of customers verbally abusing workers in recent days. Employers must do all they can to support their staff when this happens. They 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,” he said.
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