Win! Shopworkers celebrate Sunday trading hours success

usdaw-logoUsdaw members in Northern Ireland are celebrating after Belfast City Council’s Strategic Policy & Resources Committee voted against extending Sunday trading hours and in favour of the status quo.

Usdaw deputy general secretary Paddy Lillis gave evidence to the committee to oppose extended Sunday trading on behalf of the city’s shopworkers. Representatives of the tourist industry and chamber of commerce were also at the meeting, lobbying for longer shop opening. The decision means the committee will now recommend to the full council not to proceed with changes to Sunday trading rules.

Paddy Lillis said: “We are delighted that the committee listened to our evidence based case and backed our members who remain absolutely opposed to extended Sunday trading. Councillors on the committee overwhelmingly supported our position, which is a very strong message for the full council to drop the proposal to open large stores for longer on Sundays.

“This is the right decision for Belfast and we will now continue to make our case to all councillors ahead of them voting on the committee’s recommendation. The current Sunday trading arrangements are a fair compromise, which has worked well for 20 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.”

A survey of more than 600 Usdaw members in November 2016 revealed:

  • 81% of respondents currently work at least some Sundays whilst over a quarter work every Sunday.
  • 85% of respondents thought that shops should not open longer on Sundays.
  • Almost two thirds of respondents said that they already come under pressure to work on Sundays.
  • Over half of respondents have some form of caring responsibilities, either for children or sick or elderly relatives of these, over three quarters work some Sundays already and over two-thirds are under pressure to work on Sundays.
  • 41% find it difficult to arrange suitable alternative care whilst they are at work.


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