More than 85 per cent of workers claim they're being abused verbally or physically on an almost-daily basis, a report by the National Retail Association (NRA) has revealed.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic, retailers in Australia have reported a staggering 400% increase in aggression and abuse, as a result of customer anger at restrictions and panic buying.
NRA chief executive Dominique Lamb, said that Australia's 1.5 million retail workers have been at the frontline of the pandemic, confronting increased risk, stress and abuse, and that due to this, they should be classified as essential workers.
"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," she said.
"Areas that require urgent attention include mental health issues, high smoking rates and exposure to violent crime at work."