Scottish wholesalers call for end to “unacceptable abuse”

Wholesalers in Scotland have grouped together to urge hospitality businesses to curb incidents of “unacceptable abuse” towards staff.

Several instances of abuse towards delivery drivers, telesales and credit control teams have led the Scottish Wholesale Association (SWA) to launch  #BeKindToWholesale campaign.

The initiative is similar to the #BeKindToHospitality movement launched in May to encourage members of the public to be kind, patient and recognise staff are doing their best in face of Covid-19 restrictions.

“SWA and our members welcomed and applauded the #BeKindtoHospitality campaign that was recently launched by the hospitality industry,” said SWA Chief Executive Colin Smith.

“After an enormously difficult year for everyone concerned, including those in the wholesale supply chain, it is more important than ever before that everyone is kind and respectful to one another.

“Sadly, as the official trade association for Scotland’s food and drink wholesaling businesses, we are becoming increasingly aware that our members too are facing some disappointing levels of aggression.”

Several SWA members have spoken about recent experiences of staff being shouted and sworn when deliveries were late or goods were unavailable.

Smith said he was “horrified” by instances and felt it was necessary to make a stand against that behaviour.

“This is a particularly tough time for wholesalers – the ‘wheels to Scotland’s food and drink industry’ – who are vital to the hospitality sector and local communities in which we serve and deliver.

“Wholesalers are faced with product supply shortages and price increases from manufacturers and importers as a consequence of Brexit, increased demand, staff shortages and factories not yet running at full capacity.

“Our members are also experiencing a chronic shortage of wholesale staff available for warehouse picking and drivers for making deliveries. Add to the equation longer turnaround times due to adhering to the various Covid restrictions – including the ‘spaces for people’ diversions and parking restrictions which all add time and complexity to delivery planning schedules – and this is a very challenging time.

“So, while wholesalers are working tirelessly to get the ‘wheels’ to you, we ask that customers recognise that this may mean tempering your expectations, understanding why the service is perhaps not quite what you are used to or expect and, crucially, not venting your frustrations on the hardworking staff who are trying to do their jobs to the best of their ability in very trying circumstances.”

Colin Smith coronavirus covid-19 hospitality Scottish Wholesale Association SWA wholesale