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.”
Usdaw conducted an online survey between 10-16 June 2020, inviting members working in retail from England and Wales to share their opinions on the Government’s plans to deregulate Sunday trading hours. 11,631 responded. 30 per cent of respondents currently work every Sunday, 29 per cent more than one in four, 19 per cent fewer than one in four and 22 per cent never work on Sunday.
Usdaw’s Sunday survey found that 92 per cent of respondents opposed large shops opening for more than six hours on a Sunday; 66 per cent feel pressured to work on Sundays; and 51 per cent want fewer hours on Sunday, with only three per cent wanting more.
Lillis said: “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 is campaigning for the Government to take urgent action to 'Save Our Shops'. Usdaw is calling for economic measures to create a more level playing field between the high street and online retailing. It also wants the Government to regulate fair pay and job security for retail workers, with a minimum wage of £10 per hour, tackle zero-hours and short-hours contracts, investment in skills and training. In addition, the trade union is calling for Government action to protect jobs in the retail sector. Retail jobs are real jobs – retail is a key part of the economy providing jobs and income for millions of families.
For more information about Usdaw’s Save our Shops campaign, click here.