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Shopworkers celebrate a victory on Sunday trading as Belfast City Councillors back Usdaw’s case

Date: 19 May 2017 Shopworkers’ trade union Usdaw is celebrating a victory after Belfast City Council’s Strategic Policy & Resources Committee today voted against extending Sunday trading hours and in favour of the status quo.
Paddy Lillis, Usdaw’s Deputy General Secretary, gave evidence to the committee this morning 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. Today’s decision means that the committee will now recommend to the full council not to proceed with changes to Sunday trading rules.

Paddy Lillis says: “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.

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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