Thursday, July 06, 2006

Sunday Shopping

Sunday shopping unchanged!

Back in April I posted an article outlining the threat to our traditional Sunday and the moves by big retailers to totally deregulate the current Sunday trading laws in England and Wales. This would have meant that larger stores, over 25,000 square feet, would have been able to trade in the same pattern as Scotland i.e. from 9.00 a.m. to 7.00 p.m.

The "Deregulate" campaign was chaired by David Ramsden, a former B&Q director and included Asda, Ikea, Kingfisher and Next amongst it's supporters. Set up as a lobbying umbrella group they sought to deregulate the law which would have led to additional hours being worked by many shopworkers in South Shields, despite the campaign's assurances that this would not be the case. They argued that many shopworkers who currently work on Sundays are young people and students who readilly accept the chance to earn money when they can. This is true, but belies the fact that these young people need to be managed, and that this management is applied by supervisors and managers who are currently employed on an "any five from seven" day contract. They currently work around 7 or 8 hours on a Sunday and deregulation would increase this to 8 or 9 hours, thus reducing the amount of "quality time" available to spend with the family at the weekends.

Today the Trade and Industry Secretary Aistair Darling has confirmed that after consultations with all sectors in the retail market there will be no changes to the present laws, and that Sunday trading by larger retailers will remain restricted to six hours. This is great news for small Corner Shop owners and retail staff in general. The present character of Sunday as a "special day" will be retained and customers will still be able to enjoy at least 90 hours of shopping per week in some of our larger stores in South Shields.

David Ramsden said:

"I think that a lot of retailers and consumers are going to be very cross because it appears that the government has done a U-turn."

Whilst John Hannet, General Secretary of Usdaw commented;

"Britain is the most deregulated retail environment in Europe, All our members want is the right to a sensible proper work-life balance, and thanks to this wise decision, they will be able to enjoy quality time with their loved ones on Sundays."

In an email to Curly's Corner Shop, South Shields MP and Environment Secretary David Miliband said;

"I hope you are well. From what you said to me in April, I know that you will be pleased that Alistair Darling has decided that there should be no change to the Sunday trading laws."

For once it is good to see that commonsense prevails and that the right decision has been made, and assuring that the little man behind the counter has an opinion worth listening to.


BBC News
My Sunday, My Choice
Keep Sunday Special

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Why should we have a day that is crippled for the sake of an outdated religion. If I want ot go to the same shop at 9pm on a Sunday I should be able to seeing as I can do it any other day. Sunday is nothing more than another day - it should be treated as such.
Anonymous - why should hard working shop staff be denied the same amount of leisure time as yourself?

Some large stores in South Shields open for nearly 80 or 90 hours per week, Asda at Boldon is open for 150 hours per week, is this not enough time for you to shop?

The law still allows smaller local shops to be open longer on a Sunday for you, there has to be some give and take!

I have not argued the case against on any religious grounds, only on the grounds of staff welfare, quality time with their families etc. I bet you enjoy having Bank Holidays as well - remember the shop staff cannot enjoy them like you!
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