‘Pretend cough’ over credit union worker

‘Pretend cough’ over credit union worker

25 March 2020

POLICE will be contacted after a saver in Downpatrick Credit Union “pretend coughed” at a staff member last week during the coronavirus outbreak, it has been revealed.

Mary Cullen, chair of Downpatrick Credit Union, warned that it was now operating a “zero tolerance policy” as incidents of verbal abuse to staff increased during reduced opening hours.

She said the credit union, which is situated in Market Street, had been inundated with messages of support after she posted a warning post on Facebook last Friday where she asked members to respect everyone’s boundaries regarding social distancing and to accept the new reduced hours cover.

She said a member of the public verbally abused a member of staff before “pretend coughing” at them.

“This particular incident is not acceptable and going forward, unfortunately, Members who cannot be courteous to our staff will not be served,” said Mary in her post.

“We are in a very dangerous time and are doing the best that we can. We are very lucky to have an amazing team at DCU, let’s appreciate and respect them as they try to continue to provide a service to members.”

“The support for my staff has been phenomenal. Members have contacted me to express their sadness and disgust that anyone could behave in such a manner.”

One shocked local person commented: “What is actually wrong with people being totally ignorant to what is happening.”

Several people called for the person to be banned from the credit union.

Mary said that the staff had to adopt themselves to the changed methods of operation and service in the public health crisis.

“We have had a fair amount of verbal abuse since implementing restrictions on the number of people in the banking hall at any one time and staff have been working tirelessly to ensure a safe environment for all by encouraging social distancing,” she explained. “We will continue to monitor member activity and behaviour and have a zero tolerance policy now in place.”

However, she warned: “Any member who does not respect the boundaries in place or who proceeds to abuse staff will be asked to leave the building, I have told the staff that the Board support them 1,000% and continue to do so. 

“I will be making contact with the member and we will be pursuing this matter through the PSNI.”

The credit union is from 10.30am to 3.30pm on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday and from 10.30am-1pm on Saturday. It is closed on Wednesdays.