Eight in 10 retail workers said their mental health has deteriorated due to the strain of working in stores and 50% of retail managers said staff absences are rising, in a survey of more than 1,500 employees by the charity Retail Trust.
Among the findings, Retail Trust heard of workers stealing from stores and being subject to abuse. One retailer said it had set up a task-force to protect staff from aggressive shoppers and another reported a marked increase in workers feeling suicidal.
Cases of abuse grew during the pandemic, with consumers taking out their frustrations over mask requirements and social distancing on retail workers. The higher cost of living has made shoplifting more common and store workers have faced more violence and threats when trying to intervene.
Retail is one of the largest employers in Britain and staff, like shoppers, are under pressure from rising costs.
Retailers are taking some action to help employees. A third have issued pay raises that match or exceed inflation and half provide other forms of financial assistance, such as help to pay bills or providing advances on salary or interest free loans.
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