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Scottish shops should be closed on New Year's Day to give shopworkers a well-deserved break says Usdaw

Date: 30 December 2021 Shopworkers’ trade union Usdaw is backing the vast majority of Scottish members who are calling for large stores to stay closed on New Year’s Day. The union is calling on the Scottish Government to reverse their opposition to giving retail workers a proper festive break.
The Christmas Day and New Year’s Day Trading (Scotland) Act 2007 prohibits trading in most large shops on Christmas Day and gave powers to the Scottish Government to stop the opening of those shops on New Year's Day. When quizzed on the issue in First Minister’s Questions, Nicola Sturgeon offered little more than warm words and sympathy.
 
Paddy Lillis – Usdaw General Secretary says: “Our members are deeply disappointed with the attitude of the Scottish Government. Retail staff have worked throughout the pandemic, faced unprecedented levels of abuse and have dealt with a very busy festive period. The very least that these key workers can expect is that the Scottish Government shows their appreciation for the essential work they’ve done through this appalling pandemic by giving them a proper festive break.
 
“Nicola Sturgeon’s warm words and sympathy mean little when the Scottish Government refuses to enact powers given to them to stop the opening of large stores on New Year’s Day. They are clearly not listening to the 98% of Scottish shopworkers who want stores to close. In fact all the SNP in Government have done is stand back while New Year’s Day trading has grown, forcing more staff into work and away from their families on 1 January.
 
“Retail staff work incredibly hard all year round, but it is particularly busy and stressful throughout December. So they deserve to be able to spend time with family and friends. Hogmanay and New Year is a special holiday in Scotland, but this is not reflected in the experience of many retail workers.
 
“Our message to the public is, if you really feel the need to shop on New Year’s Day, please respect shopworkers and understand they would most likely prefer to be spending time with their loved ones.”
 
What Scottish shopworkers say:
  • “You're tired from working and don't really relax or enjoy the limited time you get with the kids. Then you start all over again working New Year’s Day too!!!”
  • “If, like myself, you have to work Boxing Day and New Year’s Day - it should be paid at least time and half.”
  • “As a store manager I have had to work Christmas and New Year. A lot of hard work goes into the weeks leading up. By Christmas Day you are exhausted and then back to work on Boxing Day. This year I also have to work New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day and on the second.”
  • “I am not happy working till 1930 on both Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve. By 4pm our store was fairly empty.”
  • “Finishing times on Christmas Eve and Hogmanay are creeping up later, which has a severe impact on family life for retail workers.” 
Notes for editors:
 
Usdaw (Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers) is the UK's fifth biggest trade union with over 380,000 members. Most Usdaw members work in the retail sector, but the union also has many members in transport, distribution, food manufacturing, chemical industry and other trades.
 
Usdaw’s New Year's Day Survey of 1,473 Scottish members found:
  • 98% agree that stores in Scotland should close on New Year's Day.
  • 79% are not happy to work on New Year's Day or 2 January.
  • 74% said they spend too little time with their loved ones over New Year.
  • 72% reported their store being fairly or very quiet on New Year's Day. 
FMQ’s 16 December 2021 - Retail Stores (New Year’s Day 2022): https://archive2021.parliament.scot/parliamentarybusiness/report.aspx?r=13477&i=122348#ScotParlOR
 
For Usdaw press releases visit: http://www.usdaw.org.uk/news and you can follow us on Twitter @UsdawUnion

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