Minister calls for shops to stay closed at Christmas

Trade
and Industry Secretary Patricia Hewitt is calling for shops to stay closed over
Christmas to protect the holidays of thousands of low-paid retail staff.

Hewitt
is writing to all the major stores urging them to respect 25 December as a
religious holiday and keep the day special.

She
is concerned that a 24-hour shopping culture is depriving check-out staff and
shelf-stackers of precious time off. She is calling for the stores to stay
closed.

If
the warnings are ignored by the industry, the Government could introduce a new
law forcing them to stop trading on Christmas Day.

By Ross Wigham

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