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Belfast City Councillors back shopworkers and vote overwhelmingly not to change Sunday trading rules

Date: 01 June 2017 Shopworkers’ trade union Usdaw has welcomed tonight’s vote, by 37 to 10 at Belfast City Council’s Annual General Meeting, backing a decision of the Strategic Policy & Resources Committee to reject extending Sunday trading hours on 18 weekends a year by exploiting a loophole in the law and designating the city centre a holiday resort.
Paddy Lillis, Usdaw’s Deputy General Secretary says: “We were delighted that the committee listened to our evidence based case and backed our members who remain absolutely opposed to extended Sunday trading, but there was a chance that decision could be overturned by the full council. So we welcome that councillors tonight blocked an attempt to refer the issue back to the committee and overwhelmingly supported our position.

“This is the right decision for Belfast. 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.”

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: www.usdaw.org.uk/news and you can follow us on Twitter @UsdawUnion

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