Stores urged to let staff rest on Christmas Day

Major
retail stores are coming under pressure from shop staff  not to trade on Christmas Day.

Retail
employees’ union Usdaw has launched a campaign to prevent large retailers from
opening their stores on Sundays.

Asda,
Sainsbury’s and Tesco already have branches open round the clock in the
build-up to Christmas (News, 5 December), but are reluctant to speculate on
whether they would open on 25 December. 

Sainsbury’s
plans to open petrol stations in Roehampton and Lewisham in London and Horley
in Surrey on Christmas Day as a trial in conjunction with Shell. Chains of
small convenience stores will be open and consider it a major trading day.

Usdaw wants
the Government to implement legislation making it illegal for stores to open on
Christmas Day.

MP and
Usdaw member Nigel Griffiths has backed the campaign, along with more than 50
other MPs. He wants the issue debated in the next parliamentary session and
hopes regulations will be adopted either through the legislative process or as
a private member’s bill.

Griffiths
said, “Britain is fast becoming a 24-hour society with shopworkers on the front
line.  As a result, we are seeing more
work-related stress caused by longer and more unsocial hours, which impacts on
families.”

But Trevor
Dixon, chief executive of the Association of Convenience Stores, which
represents large chains such as Spar, Costcutter and Londis, said, “We are
opposed to any change in the shop trading hours regulations.”

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