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ICTU 2017 Conference - Usdaw to call for support for shopworkers on Sunday trading

Date: 03 July 2017 Shopworkers’ trade union Usdaw is sending a delegation of members and officials to the Irish Congress of Trade Unions’ Biennial Conference in Belfast, where they will be seeking the support of delegates against extended Sunday trading. The conference runs from 4 to 6 July at the Assembly Buildings.
Derry City & Strabane Council are considering the use of a ‘holiday resorts’ loophole to extend shop trading hours on Sundays, despite Belfast City Councillors rejecting a similar move last month.

John Hannett - Usdaw General Secretary says: “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.

“Our members in large stores remain absolutely opposed to extended Sunday trading. The number one reason for their opposition is the detrimental effect this would have on their family life. They cite real concerns about the additional pressure they would come under to work on Sundays if shops are open longer.

“Many shopworkers, particularly parents, tell us how important Sunday is to them and their family. Often it is the one day of the week when everyone can sit down together for a meal, with many saying they needed the time on Sunday to help their children prepare for the school week.

“We were delighted to have successfully campaigned against extended Sunday trading in Belfast, but the campaign continues in Derry & Strabane Council where we will be giving evidence at a committee hearing on Thursday. It would be a great boost to the campaign to gain the support of our sister trade unions in the ICTU.”

Results of Usdaw's Survey of Members: In November 2016 Usdaw conducted a survey of a representative group of over 600 of our members working in retail in Northern Ireland.  The results of this survey clearly demonstrate the strength of feeling of Usdaw members, and retail workers, on this subject:
  • 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.

Notes for editors:

Usdaw (Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers) is the UK's fourth biggest trade union with nearly 430,000 members. Membership has increased by more than 17% in the last five years and by nearly a third in the last decade. Most Usdaw members work in the retail sector, but the Union also has many members in transport, distribution, food manufacturing, chemicals and other trades.

For Usdaw press releases visit: http://www.usdaw.org.uk/news and you can follow us on Twitter @UsdawUnion

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