Scots Rev calls for an end to retail nightmare before Christmas

The chaplain of two Scottish shopping centres has called on retailers to let staff work decent hours over the Christmas period.

Reverend Elisabeth Spence, chaplain at Glasgow’s Buchanan Galleries and Braehead shopping complex, told The Scotsman newspaper that employers should take a look at the issue of long working hours, as punishing schedules leave staff with little time to spend with friends and family.

“Almost all people will usually say they plan to spend Christmas with their family, but if you work in retail that’s not an easy option,” she said. “I know there are service people like nurses who will work on Christmas day, but this just feels different.”

The Church of Scotland minister, one of only six-full time industrial chaplains in Scotland, regularly patrols the two shopping centres to meet with staff and shoppers.

“It may be more than individual managers we’re looking at and more about going to the retail consortium and saying ‘let’s work it out’,” she said. “We’re realistic enough to accept that we might not change anything, but at least it will have been flagged up,” she said.

Retail union Usdaw dispatched a hit squad of Santa’s to lobby Scots MPs at the Scottish Parliament earlier this week to win support for a Bill that will ban Scottish shops from opening on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.

The Bill is expected to be published in January and the union said it was confident of enough support to force it through the parliament.

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