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Age-restricted sales are a key trigger for abuse against shopworkers - Usdaw ADM delegates call on the Government to act

Date: 05 May 2019 Shopworker’s trade union Usdaw has supported action to protect retail staff who enforce the law on age-restricted sales. Delegates at the union’s annual conference in Blackpool voted unanimously to lobby the Government on the issue.
Responding to the debate at the Annual Delegate Meeting, Paddy Lillis – Usdaw General Secretary said: “Enforcing age-restricted sales is still a major trigger for abuse, threats and violence. This abuse, threatening behaviour and violence against shopworkers must end, especially when they are upholding the law around age-restricted sales.
 
“The customer isn't always right and abusive, threatening or violent customers are never in the right. Our members have a legal responsibility to ask for ID, to challenge those who might be underage. If they fail in their responsibility, they face serious consequences. They could be disciplined, or even prosecuted and fined.
 
“Simply doing their job and following the law also puts shopworkers on the front line and abuse must never be accepted as just part of the job. So we will continue to lobby the Government about our Freedom From Fear campaign.
 
The Government has opened a ‘call for evidence’ on this growing issue of shopworker abuse, following pressure from Usdaw, employers like the Co-op and retailers’ representative organisations like the Association of Convenience Stores, British Retail Consortium and National Federation of Retail Newsagents. The Government is seeking the views of organisations and individuals who wish to contribute to their understanding of the problem of violence and abuse toward shop staff in England and Wales. This consultation closes at 11pm on 28 June 2019 and submissions can be made online at: www.homeofficesurveys.homeoffice.gov.uk/s/PVAUE/
 
Usdaw has called on the Scottish Government to back a protection of workers Bill. Daniel Johnson MSP (Labour, Edinburgh Southern) is seeking to provide additional protections for retail staff, including those who sell age-restricted items. His member’s bill has been through an initial consultation and overwhelmingly backed by shopworkers. It is also supported by Asda, Co-op and the Scottish Grocers’ Federation. The Bill is currently in the drafting stage.
 
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 420,000 members. Membership has increased by more than one-third over the last couple of decades. Most Usdaw members work in the retail sector, but the union also has many members in transport, distribution, food manufacturing, chemicals and other trades.
 
Results of Usdaw’s 2018 survey, based on 6,725 responses, show that in 2018: 63.8% were verbally abused, 40.4% were threatened, 12.1% of shopworkers had been assaulted during their career, with 3.5% assaulted during 2018.
 
For Usdaw press releases visit: http://www.usdaw.org.uk/news and you can follow us on Twitter @UsdawUnion

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