Usdaw members in Belfast say “No” to Sunday trading

Usdaw members in Belfast have delivered a resounding “No” vote to Sunday trading.

In gathering evidence to Belfast City Council’s consultation on ‘Sundays in the City’, the union’s survey of retail workers found that:

  • 92% thought that shops should not open longer on Sundays
  • Over two-thirds said that they have already come under pressure to work on Sundays
  • 61% said the main impact on them and their family from working Sunday was less time with family and friends.

The union has called on the city council to engage in an industrial strategy for the retail sector that involves local and national government, retailers and all key stakeholders working together.

Usdaw general secretary Paddy Lillis said:“Usdaw is fully committed to working with Belfast City Council and others to support and improve the retail experience at the weekend and for tourists. However, our members remain opposed to extending Sunday trading hours.

“Allowing large stores to open for longer hours on Sundays would have a negative impact on retail workers, their families and our communities. Longer Sunday trading would take a heavy toll on staff who would come under even more pressure to work, when they would rather be spending time with family and engaging in community, sports, and leisure activities or attending church.

“There would also be a detrimental impact on smaller retailers who can already open longer hours on Sundays.  These traders rely on the boost in trade they get on Sunday morning, with St George’s Market being a prime example.

“Even supporters of extended Sunday opening hours have not been able to show it will lead to economic benefits or job creation. Opening shops for longer does not mean people have more money to spend. We all want to see a strong and diverse retail sector, but that means striking the right balance.

“We urge city councillors to listen to the majority of shopworkers and retailers who do not want extended Sunday trading.”

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