Eight in 10 retail workers said their mental health had deteriorated due to work pressure in stores and 50% of retail managers said staff absences were increasing, in a survey conducted to more than 1,500 employees by the charity Retail Trust.
Among the findings, Retail Trust heard of workers stealing from stores and being abused. One retailer said it had set up a task force to protect staff from aggressive shoppers and another reported a marked increase in the number of suicidal workers.
Cases of abuse have increased during the pandemic as consumers vent their frustrations over mask requirements and social distancing on retail workers. The higher cost of living has made shoplifting mainstream workers and stores faced more violence and threats when they attempted to intervene.
Retail is one of Britain’s biggest employers and staff, like shoppers, are under pressure from rising costs.
Retailers are taking steps to help employees. A third have given pay rises that match or exceed inflation and half are providing other forms of financial assistance, such as help paying bills or payday advances or interest-free loans.