CAMPAIGNERS are urging local people to support plans for a new law to protect shopworkers from violence.

Local shop stewards from USDAW Union gathered in Tesco in Port Glasgow to raise awareness of the abuse suffered by staff when asking for proof of identity.

They say that till workers have the responsibility to ensure the age of the person they serving is appropriate to purchase alcohol or cigarettes.

Mark Payne, shop steward for Tesco and divisional convener for USDAW, said: "There's a lot of pressure on checkout staff to ask for ID if they are not sure.

"If the people are underage, they can be sent to court and get a large fine as well as the company losing their licence.

"Some customers can become aggressive if they are asked their age and are refused to be served."

Mark says 230 shopworkers in the UK are attacked every day in the UK.

The law for the 'Think 25' check is that anyone who looks under 25 should show proof of their age.

Fellow Tesco union representative Jim McFayden said: "Youngsters are coming in on a Friday and Saturday night to purchase alcohol and cigarettes and we have to use Think 25 before we serve them.

"We are backing MSP Daniel Johnson's Private Members' Bill to ask for the same protection as the police, fire service and hospital staff."

This is the 15th year of the campaign to fight for the rights of shopworkers.

Jim said: "There have been 230 incidents, that's the ones that have been reported.

"A lot of verbal abuse doesn't get reported but that is an incident and should still be reported."

Mr Johnson, a Labour MSP, says violence and abuse towards shop staff is at a 10-year-high.

He said: "My bill aims to provide legislative solutions, by creating new offences for those who assault or abuse workers."

The bill is currently at its second reading in the parliamentary process at Holyrood.

Martin McCluskey, who will be Labour's candidate for Inverclyde at the next general election, is urging people to back the campaign and to send out the message that abuse of any kind is not acceptable.

He said: "It is important to draw attention to these issues.

"We need to do something about it."


Pictured is Mark, Martin, Jim, Kevin Barnes,security, Kyle Docherty shop steward, Nicole Hall, stock control manager and Carolann McPherson, clothing assistant.