DEAR DEIDRE: I USED to love my job working for a small supermarket chain, but I dread going into work now.

We don’t have any security on site to sort out issues. So when people who are following the Covid regulations raise objections with people who aren’t wearing masks, or don’t respect social distancing, it regularly ends up in a physical fight.


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Today an elderly man asked a middle-aged woman to give him space as he chose veg. She shouted: “No one tells me what to do”.

When he started to try and explain, she elbowed past him, knocking him to the side and then pushed past me. 

One of my colleagues had to break up a fight between two men yesterday because one of them wasn’t wearing a mask.

I’m a 53-year-old woman and have done this job for seven years — I have never seen anything like this.

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The atmosphere is awful and feels jumpy. I am concerned that people who refuse to listen to reason and our polite requests to stick to the rules may cause someone to get seriously ill with coronavirus. 

But what I’m most scared about is the fights. 

They have got so vicious I’m really worried that I or one of my colleagues could get seriously hurt in the crossfire. I’m stressed and cry after every single shift. 

I am starting to think I need to give up work but I’m also worried about paying the bills and finding another job.

DEIDRE SAYS: I apologise that you are getting caught in the middle of this sorry situation, particularly when there is enough to worry about.

No wonder you are upset – having to soak up this level of aggression on a daily basis, without any real back-up, would take its toll on anyone.

First of all, can you and your colleagues talk to your manager and make them aware of how your current situation is affecting you all?

Can your manager relay back to head office what is happening? It does sound like they need to find extra budget to fund security cover.

Employers have a “duty of care” for staff, customers and anyone else who visits the workplace. This means they must do all they reasonably can to support their health, safety and wellbeing.

Talk to Acas, who give independent advice on workplace issues (acas.org.uk or 0300 123 1100).

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