Wigan shopworkers are getting more abuse since the start of Covid pandemic

Wigan retail workers say they have experienced more abuse from customers since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Thursday, 18th March 2021, 1:05 pm

A survey from the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers (USDAW) found 80 per cent of shop workers say abuse has worsened during the pandemic.

The research included more than 2,500 retail workers and aimed to find out what types of abuse they had suffered in the workplace.

The results of the survey showed that 88 per cent had experienced some form of verbal abuse.

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The Grand Arcade in Wigan town centre

And it also shows that 66 per cent of staff had been threatened by a customer and nine per cent had been assaulted.

Kiera Davies, a retail worker in the Grand Arcade says the abuse happened more regularly through lockdown, the increase largely attributable to people challenging the hygiene and social-distancing rules aimed at preventing the spread of Covid-19.

Miss Davies said: “It was more or less daily, over things that us normal staff can’t help.

“I think maybe people find it easier to put all their lockdown frustrations onto staff.

“We’ve had people ruin the shop displays because they didn’t agree with the rules.

“Rules that staff and managers don’t even set.”

The abuse has made some staff feel as though their work through the pandemic has been under-appreciated.

Miss Davies said: “My work is 100 per cent undervalued, people are too quick to be rude to staff.

“They don’t realise that we have to deal with full days of constantly learning new methods due to the pandemic.

“Mistreatment from customers doesn’t help.”

Retail staff feel that their role as key workers has also not received due recognition.

Miss Davies said: “Our work through the pandemic was definitely not appreciated.

“We had to do training and change up our work days completely due to the pandemic.

“Everything was completely new to us but I don’t think customers realised that.”

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