By Imogen Bailey | 11 August 2020
The National Retail Association has released its Health and Wellbeing of Australian Retail Workers report, finding that retailers are experiencing increased retail crime and violence.
The report found that 85% of retailers have experienced verbal or physical abuse while trying to prevent crime, while some retailers are reporting up to a 400% increase in aggression and abuse.
Other key findings the NRA uncovered included that up to 100,000 retail workers are experiencing domestic and family violence, 20% of which was reported to continue at work resulting in job loss.
The report also found that retail workers are more likely to have poor nutrition and a lack of non-work exercise creating long term health impacts including obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and cancer.
The purpose of the report is to advocate for better conditions for the 1.5 million people employed in the sector and calls for retail workers to be prioritised and treated as frontline, essential workers.
NRA CEO Dominique Lamb said that the organisation wants to see the government introduce a dedicated program for retailers during the pandemic.
“The retail sector is the second largest workforce in Australia and contributes $329 billion to the economy each year.
“Australia’s 1.5 million retail workers have battled an unprecedented set of challenges during the pandemic.
“Feedback from our members is that they are suffering high levels of stress and anxiety leading to mental health issues and an increase in poor lifestyle choices such as smoking.
“We’d like to see the Government recognise retailers as an essential frontline service and implement a Retail Resilience Program to educate workers on how to cope during the pandemic.
“Areas that require urgent attention include mental health issues, high smoking rates and exposure to violent crime at work,” she said.
The NRA is encouraging retailers to read the report and sign a dedicated petition.