Paddy Lillis – Usdaw General Secretary Elect said:
“Age-related sales are a cause for concern amongst our retail membership, because they bring with them the very real risk of abuse, legal sanctions, and disciplinary action.
“Of course, it is vital that underage sales are prevented, and the age restrictions on sales exist for good reason. Companies need to stay within the law, and they have a duty to protect young people, but it is not acceptable that Usdaw members are the ones who suffer the consequences of poor policies and a lack of guidance.
“We know that our members care very deeply about making the right decision, following both the law and company policies, but time and time again we see our members disciplined because of ambiguous guidance from employers on this complex issue.
“It is illegal to sell age-restricted products to a customer who is not old enough to purchase them. The consequences for making an underage sale are steep, including fines of up to £5,000, Court appearances, and premises licences being revoked.
“However, Think 25 checks are different, they are in essence a company policy. The checks are run in-house by the employer, and no laws are broken if a staff member makes a sale to someone without asking for ID, unless they are actually underage.
“Judging whether someone looks under 25 is not always easy. Proper, in-depth training is needed, to give our members the knowledge and confidence to deal with age-related sales. We know that our members often do not receive adequate training or guidance, yet we still see members being disciplined for failing these checks. We believe this is unfair and will not help resolve the problem.
“We want to see companies taking a more practical approach, and listening to the frontline staff who are offering the solution. We will continue to work with employers to educate customers around Think 25 and to provide better training and support for staff.”
Notes for editors:
Usdaw (Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers)
is the UK's fifth biggest and the fastest growing trade union with over 430,000 members. Membership has increased by more than 28% over the decade. Most Usdaw members work in the retail sector, but the union also has many members in transport, distribution, food manufacturing, chemicals and other trades.
For Usdaw press releases visit: http://www.usdaw.org.uk/news
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