Keep calm, keep your distance and keep smiling.  This is the advice to the nation in the face of COVID-19, and Australians have a lot to be proud of in our response.  What has been extremely disappointing to see, and downright un-Australian, is the abuse, aggression and violence that has been pointed at Australia’s retail workers.  It is understood that there is frustration in the community, frustration that is compounded by an economy and family finances under pressure, and stock outages on the shelves.  The frustration is understandable, what is absolutely not ok is pointing that at the retail workers who are turning up to work, day after day, to ensure that customers have access to the products that are available.  ACAPMA has produced signage to help remind customers that the workers behind the counters are humans too, and deserve to be treated civilly.

It has been a disappointing situation that has seen some customers at retail fuel outlets, frustrated in general, taking their frustration out on the retail staff who are simply doing their job.  Whether it has been the removal of tables and chairs (which has been a cause of endless frustration for roadhouses and the police) in compliance with changing State requirements, or stock outages or the ever present fuel prices, there has been a disturbing increase in reports of retail fuel site staff facing abuse and aggression and even violence from customers.

Speaking about the trend ACAPMAs Executive Manager for Employment and Training, Elisha Radwanowski said clearly; “This is unacceptable.  More than that it is completely un-Australian.”

“While the vast majority of customers recognise the reality, that the retail fuel site staff are simply following the restrictions imposed on them, dealing with stock outages themselves, and having absolutely no control over fuel prices, those few customers that probably understand these facts on an intellectual level, have despite this, been blaming the staff and attacking them.  Staff are reporting feeling unsafe at work” continued Elisha.

“This is at a time when they are getting up and coming into work to ensure that the fuel and convenience necessities that the countries essential workers and locked down population need, are there and available.  It is not on”

ACAPMA has released new posters to remind customers that abuse, aggression and violence towards staff is unacceptable and un-Australian.  A copy of the posters are included below and have been added to the broader Keeping Staff and Customers article and resources here;

Sites are also advised to discuss this with their staff and to remind staff that they have the right to contact the police if they are feeling threatened or unsafe.

For a copy of the poster see below. Note a space has been included to note the management contact email. If used it is suggested that the notation state “please direct your questions and comments to”.

Download poster here: