Retail union to campaign against extended Sunday shopping hours

Retail union Usdaw is launching a national campaign to prevent any further extension of Sunday shopping hours at its annual conference in Blackpool this weekend.

The Save Our Sundays campaign (www.usdaw.org.uk/campaigns/sunday) opposes extending retailers’ opening hours from 10am-4pm and is supported by more than 4,000 members. The government is expected to propose extending hours to 9am-6pm.

Usdaw general secretary John Hannett said any increase in hours would put its members under even more pressure.

“We hear a lot of talk from supporters of longer Sunday shopping hours that stores will be staffed by students or younger people, but the harsh reality is that those under the most pressure to work Sundays are experienced staff, who often have caring responsibilities,” he said.

Hannett said employment minister Gerry Sutcliffe had agreed to join the union on Sunday afternoon to listen to its concerns.

“The clear message from our members to ministers is that if you decide to allow shops to open longer on Sundays, they will come under intense pressure to work, which will have a devastating impact on their family lives,” he said.

The conference, ironically, continues through the Bank Holiday weekend until Wednesday 3 May.

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