Federal Member for Bendigo, Lisa Chesters is reminding residents to think about the impact of abuse and violence on workers in the retail and fast food industries, as Central Victorians prepare for the impact of COVID-19.
“We are navigating a new and difficult situation with many unknowns and as stores manage stock levels, I’d like to remind local residents to be patient and show respect to staff,” Chesters said.
“No one deserves to be abused at work. It is unacceptable and can have serious impacts on physical and mental health.
“Supermarkets are incredibly busy at the moment and stock is limited. It is paramount that we treat retail workers with courtesy and respect at this time, it is not their fault that there is no stock on the shelves.
“At the end of the day, these workers are someone’s mum, sister, or loved one. They are doing their best.
“This situation is changing rapidly and so is their work as they continue to stock the shelves and ensure people get what they need.
“In terms of a wider approach, this is a deeply serious and complex situation. It is evolving and it is important we continue to operate on the basis of the most up to date medical advice.
“This is a health crisis and limiting the exposure of locals to this virus is the biggest challenge we face. Ensuring people have access to health care when they need it is the top priority.
“Supporting and protecting local jobs is also a big challenge we face as a community and country.
“No income means no money to afford the basics. That creates panic and further worsens the situation.
“Now more than ever, it’s important that workers and their employers work together.
“I know some local businesses and organisations have said that they will extend sick leave to their casuals if they are required to self-isolate. That’s fantastic.
“I’m calling on the Federal Government to play its part and do more.
“It remains to be seen whether the Government’s measures will be big enough or rolled out quickly enough to prevent job losses, business failures or a more serious downturn.