Shopworkers’ trade union Usdaw has welcomed reports that the Government will not be pressing ahead with plans to deregulate Sunday trading hours having listened to the arguments. Usdaw continues to call for an industrial strategy for retail, which was struggling before the Coronavirus emergency and a tripartite recovery plan involving government, retailers and Usdaw.

Paddy Lillis, Usdaw General Secretary says:
“We appreciate the desire to help the retail sector, but the proposal to undo a long-held and workable compromise on Sunday trading was misguided and overwhelmingly rejected by shopworkers. We welcome reports that the Government has rejected the proposal to make shopworkers work longer on Sundays.

“What the retail sector needs now is a tripartite approach of unions, employers and Government sitting down talking about what a retail recovery plan will look like. We have long called for an industrial strategy for retail to help a sector that was already struggling before the Coronavirus emergency. The Government needs to level the playing field on taxation between online and the high street, as well as enable councils to breathe new life into town centres and make them community hubs.

“The Sunday Trading Act is a great compromise that has worked well for over 25 years and gives everyone a little bit of what they want. Retailers can trade, customers can shop, staff can work; whilst Sunday remains a special day, different to other days, and shopworkers can spend some time with their family. It is good news that a divisive deregulation plan has been put to one side and we can now focus on pulling together to tackle the crisis on our high streets and help save our shops and the jobs of the retail workers who have served their communities tirelessly throughout Coronavirus.”

Usdaw (Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers) is the UK’s fifth biggest trade union with over 400,000 members. Membership has increased by more than one-third over the last couple of decades. Most Usdaw members work in the retail sector, but the union also has many members in transport, distribution, food manufacturing, chemicals and other trades.

Usdaw’s Sunday survey was conducted online between 10 and 16 June 2020. Usdaw members working in retail from England and Wales were invited by email to participate, 11,631 responded. 30% work every Sunday, 29% more than 1 in 4, 19% fewer than 1 in 4 and 22% never work on Sunday. Two-thirds of respondents are women. Key findings include:

  • 92% opposed large shops opening for more than 6 hours on a Sunday.
  • 66% feel they are pressured to work on Sundays.
  • 51% want fewer hours on Sunday with only 3% wanting more.

Sunday Trading Act 1994is a widely respected compromise that ended years of controversy. The Act allows large shops to open for up to six hours in a regulated period, with some exceptions, and provides legal rights for shopworkers.

Usdaw’s Save our Shops campaign: https://www.usdaw.org.uk/Campaigns/Save-Our-Shops-(1)

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