Shopworkers reject extended Sunday trading

Shopworkers have overwhelmingly rejected any extension to Sunday trading hours as the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) launches a consultation on this controversial issue.

A survey of more than 500 shopworkers by retail union Usdaw found that 92% of shopworkers reject any relaxation of the present rules that allow big stores to open for six hours on a Sunday.

“This is a clear signal to ministers that Britain’s 2.7 million retail workers are utterly opposed to any extension of the present six hour limit,” said Usdaw general secretary John Hannett.

“Our members are the people who will have to work the extra hours if the government decides to change an arrangement that works perfectly well, so we want to make sure they listen to the workers’ voice.”

The union will also tell the DTI that 62% of those surveyed come under pressure to work on Sundays and only 11% have had the confidence to use their legal right to opt out of Sunday working.

More than 160 MPs from all parties have backed an Early Day Motion supporting shopworkers and acknowledging the negative impact on local communities if big stores open longer.

“We have been amazed at the level of support in Parliament from all parties and if a change in the present limit is presented to MPs nearly one third of them have pledged to oppose it,” said Hannett.

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