Working retail in the middle of the night needs to be treated as a workplace risk

Killings of two convenience store workers prompts call for action on late night workplace safety

Edmonton - The killings of two workers in south Edmonton last night are a grim reminder that workers working retail in the middle of the night face greater risks of violence.


The first death, which occurred at a Mac’s convenience store at the corner of 32 Ave. and 82 St., took place at 3:30 a.m. The second was reported at 3:43 a.m., and took place at a Mac’s convenience store at the corner of 108 St. and 61 Ave. At least one of the two workers was working alone.


“We know from experience that workers working in the middle of the night are at dramatically greater risk of violence. And because we know this, government has a responsibility to act,” Alberta Federation of Labour president Gil McGowan said. “When you’re working alone at a retail operation in the middle of the night, you can be a target. And education alone isn’t enough to mitigate that risk.”


AFL is calling for regulations similar to those in British Columbia, where all-night retail employers are required have more than one person on duty on night shifts, when robberies and violent attacks are most likely. If the employer insists on having only one staff member on duty, that staff member must work in a locked area, behind a secure barrier.


Additionally, it must be made mandatory for late-night retail employers to provide their employees with training about how to deal with robberies and gas-and-dash situations. This training must make it clear that money lost from robberies will not be deducted from an employee’s paycheque.


“We already have some rules on the book about employers needing to check in with night-shift workers regular basis, but there should be an investigation into whether or not those rules are being followed,” McGowan said. “There needs to be a system of spot checks to make sure that workers are safer.”


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Olav Rokne, Communications Director, Alberta Federation of Labour at 780.218.4351 (cell)
or via e-mail [email protected]

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