NI shop staff ‘subjected to verbal abuse’ since face coverings became mandatory
Revealing the increase in abuse of staff, Retail NI called for a “zero-tolerance approach” to verbal and physical abuse of shop workers and called for stiffer penalties for those who assault retail staff.
The business group’s call comes as shop workers trade union USDAW revealed that abuse of staff has doubled during the pandemic.
Retail NI chief executive Glyn Roberts said: “We completely agree with USDAW that the physical and verbal abuse of shop workers has dramatically increased during the pandemic. At the height of Covid-19 many retail workers put their own health at risk to ensure food and other vital products were available for the people of Northern Ireland”
“Sadly, we have picked up further instances of abuse of shop staff in the last week since the mandatory wearing of face coverings was introduced.
“Physical and verbal abuse of shop workers is totally unacceptable, and we fully support tougher penalties or indeed sentencing for those guilty of such behaviour. We need a zero-tolerance approach to such abuse.
“Retail NI has recently raised this issue with Assistant Chief Constable Alan Todd, and we are also seeking a meeting with Justice Minister Naomi Long to discuss tougher sentences for those guilty of assaulting staff.
“I want to make another appeal to shoppers to show respect, courtesy and understanding of the difficult job that retail staff are doing during this pandemic. Please, just be kind to retail workers”