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Northern Irish trade unionists back Usdaw's call for a proper festive break

Date: 23 March 2021 Shopworkers trade union Usdaw has today won support for a proper break for retail staff over the festive period from delegates participating in the online Biennial Delegate Conference (BDC) of the Northern Ireland Committee (NIC) of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU).
Campaigning on Christmas and New Year working, Usdaw is calling for:
  • Early closure on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve;
  • Closure on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day;
  • No loss of pay for retail workers when stores are closed. 
Paddy Lillis – Usdaw General Secretary says: “We welcome the support of conference delegates who share our concerns that many workers are not receiving a decent break over the Christmas and New Year holiday period. Usdaw’s Christmas and New Year working surveys found that in Northern Ireland, 80% of respondents said that they spend too little time at Christmas with family and friends.
 
“Christmas Day trading legislation means that nearly all shops do not trade on 25 December. However, many retail workers report that for them, Christmas is just a day off, not a holiday. Long hours in the run-up to Christmas and shops re-opening early on Boxing Day leaves many retail workers too exhausted and with insufficient time off to enjoy the Christmas holiday. There is just no need for excessive working hours in retail over the festive period. Usdaw’s survey showed that over half of retail workers in Northern Ireland, who worked on Boxing Day, reported that their store was either fairly or very quiet.
 
“Key workers in retail have worked throughout the pandemic. They’ve faced hundreds of customers every shift, suffered unprecedented levels of abuse and worried about catching the virus. These key workers, who have kept food on the shelves, were rightly applauded for their efforts, but applause isn’t enough. They also deserve a decent break at Christmas.”
 
Notes for editors:
 
Usdaw (Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers) is the UK's fifth biggest trade union with over 400,000 members. Membership has increased by more than one-third over the last couple of decades. 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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