Concern has been expressed in Derry about how some members of the public will treat workers in the retail and hospitality sectors in the run up to Christmas.
Sinn Fein councillor Colly Kelly said that while he understands Christmas can be a stressful time for some, there is little or no excuse to treat workers with disrespect.
“Over recent years there is a growing concern about the abuse directed at workers in the retail and hospitality sector in the weeks leading up to Christmas,” he said.
“For many of these workers it’s their first job, many of those taking up these positions are young students or people who have been out of the work force for some time.
“Obviously the Christmas period can be a very stressful period for people but sadly on many occasions now it’s not uncommon for people to be seen verbally abuse members of staff in our city centre shops, restaurants and hotels.
“This is simply not acceptable; these workers are doing very long hours, many just going straight from their studies to the shop floor and working up to 10pm. And long hours over the weekends.”
The Derry councillor said the last thing staff need “is someone shouting abuse at them because the shop hasn’t got the right size in something or they didn’t get milk with their tea or coffee.”
He continued:”Verbal abuse from customers is very hurtful and can leave staff very upset. We all understand Christmas and the New Year can be a stressful time, but I am appealing to customers in Derry and people heading out for the annual Christmas party to think twice before they abuse staff.”