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Be kind to your retail assistant this Christmas


“No one deserves a serve.”  

That’s the message from Hunter Workers ahead of what is expected to be a particularly stressful time for retailers. 

Given businesses across the region are experiencing price hikes and staff shortages, as shoppers we are being reminded that retail workers do not deserve to cop abuse for short failings. 

The reminder comes two weeks before Christmas, as the dash for gifts escalates.   

“We expect shoppers will be under considerable stress this Christmas, but it’s never okay to take it out on workers. It’s completely inappropriate and unacceptable,” says Hunter Workers secretary Leigh Shears. 

 “No one deserves a serve. Retail workers aren’t responsible for price hikes, and they work as hard as they possibly can under immense pressure. We urge shoppers to be kind to all workers this festive season.” 

Staff shortages are also being exacerbated by an increase in COVID cases across the Hunter, adding more pressure to workers, Shears adds. 

As of 4pm on Thursday 8 December, the HNELHD recorded a further 4,669 locally-acquired infections – up 401 from the previous week.

That figure resulted from 2,407 positive PCRs and 2,262 rapid antigen tests (RATs).

NSW Health experts believe the HNELHD tally will surpass 5,000 before Christmas.

Employers have a legal obligation to keep employees safe at work, he reminds, which also includes taking actions such as removing or permanently banning customers. 

“We remind workers that their employer has a legal obligation to keep them safe at work, and to contact your Union if these steps aren’t being adequately taken.” 

The Hunter region currently has 33,888 employees in retail trade jobs, according to Hunter Joint Organisation, making it our third largest industry.

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