Labour Research March 2016


Sunday hours changes denounced

Shopworkers’ union Usdaw has registered its disappointment over the government’s decision to implement controversial plans to devolve responsibility for supermarket Sunday opening hours.

The Enterprise Bill will be amended so that decision-making for Sunday trading hours in England and Wales will be devolved to more than 300 local authorities.

A survey by Usdaw of 10,000 members revealed that 91% of respondents opposed the move. General secretary John Hannett said: “The vast majority of shopworkers are already working at least some Sundays, and most work every Saturday as well.

“The restriction to six hours of Sunday opening is important to them because it is often their only guaranteed ‘family time’ — especially if they have children at school in the week, or partners who work weekdays.”

The union leader said that government proposals to reduce the notice period for shopworkers to opt-out of Sunday working would do little as most shopworkers face pressure from management and the possible loss of working hours. 

And he said the government had not only failed to listen to the union but also retail employers. 

“Having over 300 different regulatory regimes across the UK, with random zones and seasonable variations, will be confusing for customers and is a nightmare scenario for retailers and staff alike.”