Shopworkers’ trade union leader John Hannett has reacted with anger over the news that the UK Goverment has revived plans to allow shops to open for longer on Sundays, despite opposition from Tory backbenchers.
Under the proposals, local authorities and city mayors will be given the power to extend Sunday trading hours in England and Wales, business secretary Sajid Javid announced earlier this week.
The government appeared to abandon the plans in November, after 20 backbenchers threatened to rebel and vote with Labour and SNP MPs.
But Javid has put the reform back on the agenda and told parliament he will be making an amendment to the Enterprise Bill.
In an open letter to the media, Hannet, the general secretary of Usdaw, said the plans could have a negative impact on family life, local shops and the community.
“The change could lead to large shops opening for longer, even though they are already trading for up to 150 out of 168 hours a week, so shopworkers will have even less time to spend with their families,” he said.
“It won’t help small stores, who are already allowed to open whenever they like, and may put some of them out of business. This is a solution looking for a problem that doesn’t exist. It isn’t even clear who is actually calling for this change, with many retailers opposing it.”
In September, bira CEO Alan Hawkins said that even the largest retailers are divided over the new law.
“Large companies won’t sit back and let their rivals stay open while they are closed so they will keep adding to hours until it is open all hours. I wonder how much genuine cost benefit will be done to back up that decision,” he said.