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Protection for shopworkers amendment to the Offensive Weapons Bill welcomed by Usdaw

Date: 13 September 2018 Shopworkers’ trade union leader Paddy Lillis has welcomed an amendment, tabled today, to the Offensive Weapons Bill that will make it a specific offence to obstruct a shopworker in their duty to enforce the law on the sale of offensive weapons. The remaining stages of the Bill are expected to be taken in the House of Commons on Monday 15 October 2018.
The move was backed by the British Retail Consortium (BRC) when they gave evidence to the Bill’s committee: “we do share the Usdaw view that carrying out an attack on a shop worker in the course of their employment should be a specific offence: either a generalised offence, or one that relates to age checking, but certainly some sort of specific offence.”
 
Paddy Lillis – Usdaw General Secretary says: “When retail employers and the shopworkers’ trade union agree on measure to protect staff, we hope that MPs will take notice and support the amendment. At the second reading of the Bill, the Home Secretary recognised that the protection of shopworkers requires further thought and this amendment goes some way to delivering the protection shopworkers need.
 
“Shopworkers will play a vital role on the frontline of policing this new law, as they already do on the sale of alcohol and other age-restricted products. Yet they are offered no additional protection under the law and shopworkers can be treated like criminals if a mistake is made at the point of sale.
 
“This is a much needed Bill that deserves support and we very much welcome it. We have all been appalled by the increase in assaults and deaths when acid and knives were used as offensive weapons. It is absolutely right that we do everything possible to stem the scourge of knife crime and acid attacks.
 
“Shopworkers are on the frontline of achieving that and helping to keep our communities safe. Their role should be valued, they deserve our respect, but most of all they deserve the protection of the law.”
 
Notes for editors:
 
Usdaw (Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers) is the UK's fifth biggest and the fastest growing trade union with around 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.
 
Offensive Weapons Bill: New Clause 1 - Protection for retail staff
To move the following Clause—
(1) A person (“the purchaser”) commits an offence if they intentionally obstruct a
person (“the seller”) in the exercise of their duties under section 1 of this Act.
(2) In this section, “intentionally obstruct” includes, but is not limited to, a person
acting in a threatening manner.
(3) A person guilty of an offence under subsection (1) is liable on summary
conviction to a fine not exceeding level 4 on the standard scale.

Sponsoring MPs: David Hanson, Ruth George, Vernon Coaker, Kate Green, Luciana Berger, Mr Ben Bradshaw, Ian Murray, Gareth Thomas and Ann Coffey.
 
For Usdaw press releases visit: http://www.usdaw.org.uk/news and you can follow us on Twitter @UsdawUnion

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