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14th Dec 2021

Union calls for compensation for retail workers abused by shoppers at Christmas

Hugh Carr

compensation retail workers christmas

Workers have been reportedly kicked and spat on.

A union has called for additional payments to be made for retail workers who experience abuse over the Christmas period.

Mandate spoke to Morning Ireland on RTÉ Radio 1 on Monday (14 December) about the abuse that some of their members had experienced.

“In the last 3 weeks you can see it. There’s a light air of panic on people when they’re shopping,” said one retail worker.

“Three weeks ago this woman came and she asked me did we have black pudding and I said ‘no, we are out of stock’. It was a gluten free black pudding.

“She said ‘why don’t you f*****g have it? It’s missing for the last three f****ing weeks. What kind of a f*****g supermarket is this?’”

Other retail workers have experience physical abuse over the recent Christmas period.

One security guard in the west of Ireland has been spat on, kicked, and has endured physical abuse.

“When the pandemic broke, my life changed as a security officer. We were told we’d have to be managing crowds and influx of people coming in to the shop,” he said,

“We had people who weren’t happy at being told what to do.

“I was called a jobsworth, I was spat at, I was kicked at, I had stuff thrown at me.

“Stuff being sworn at me over a period of time, it took its toll on me.

“In 30 years as a security officer doing retail and also doing doorwork, I’ve never experienced that type of abuse over the years and it took its tolls on us,” he concluded.

Gerry Light, Mandate’s General Secretary is calling for a payment from employers to recognise the work done by workers at Christmas.

“We would say very strongly that the payment, as much as is possible, should be permanent in nature and shouldn’t be a one-off show of gratitude from employers to employees,” he said.

“The call we are putting out here is predominantly about health and safety.

“Christmas is always a very extremely stressful time for retail workers and of course this reality is magnified considerably since the arrival of the Covid pandemic.”

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