Aggression is Not On – Managing customer aggression onsite
April 7, 2020
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
“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”
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 email@example.com”.