The protest will run from 8.30am until the start of the meeting at 9.30am, in Donegall Square outside Belfast City Hall. There will be an opportunity for photos and interviews with Usdaw’s Deputy General Secretary, local officials and members.
Usdaw responded to Belfast City Council’s consultation with a resounding ‘no’ to extended Sunday trading, after a member survey came out 6:1 against.
Ahead of presenting evidence to City Councillors on behalf of shopworkers opposed to extended Sunday shopping, Paddy Lillis - Usdaw Deputy 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 remain absolutely opposed to extended Sunday trading. Crucially, even the supporters of extended Sunday opening hours have not been able to show it will lead to economic benefits or job creation. Longer opening hours do not mean people have more money to spend, so large stores have higher opening costs, but similar takings.
“Sundays would lose a lot of what makes them special and we do not believe that Belfast City Council should pass their proposals.”
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:
Notes for editors:
Usdaw (Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers)
- 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.
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.
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