Shopworkers union Usdaw is calling for a change in law and policy around the sale of age-restricted goods and is seeking a culture of ‘No ID – No Sale’ to put the onus on customers to comply with the law.
Paddy Lillis, Usdaw General Secretary, told delegates at the union’s annual conference in Blackpool: “Age-restricted sales are consistently a major flashpoint for abuse, threats or even violence against our shopworkers, just for doing their job and complying with the law. Our retail members have a legal responsibility to check for ID. There are serious consequences if that responsibility is not met. There could be disciplinary action, a fine or even prosecution.
“Ultimately, the Think 25 policy is problematic because it puts all the responsibility on the retail worker, but the retail worker isn’t making the purchase, they are just doing their job and this policy isn’t fair. It’s time to put the responsibility on the customer, if they want to make the purchase, they need to show ID.”
Lillis added: “Yes, this might be difficult at first. In the short term, we all know there will be customers who complain about being asked for ID, when they aren’t used to it. There would need to be a comprehensive programme of public information and education and proper support from management, security staff and the police to resolve any problems. And it must be implemented right across the whole of retail, by a change in the law, not a piecemeal approach across different employers, which would cause more confusion and confrontation, because once this change is embedded consistently, across the board, it will help to keep our members safe.”