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Heart Unions Week: Usdaw campaign for shopworkers to have a proper break over Christmas and New Year continues

Date: 17 February 2022 Shopworkers’ trade union Usdaw is celebrating achievements for members during Heart Unions Week, highlighting the benefits of trade union membership. Usdaw has long called for retail staff to have a proper break over the Christmas and New Year period. The union has secured legislation and negotiated improvements with employers, but there is much more to be achieved and the campaign continues.
Paddy Lillis – Usdaw General Secretary says: “Finishing late on Christmas Eve and then getting straight back to work on Boxing Day means that too many shopworkers spend too little time with their loved ones. Our members tell us of how they arrive home shattered and have to spend time on Christmas Day getting ready for work the next day, which is why 97% want shops to shut on Boxing Day.
 
“Usdaw secured legislation to stop large stores opening on Christmas Day and has been talking to retailers about staying closed on Boxing Day. Last year many decided not to open on Sunday 26 December and we hope this is the beginning of a permanent move away from Boxing Day trading. Shops can open for 150 hours a week in the run-up to Christmas and many do, so we think a two day break for staff is not unreasonable and retailers do not need to open on Boxing Day.
 
“Our Scottish members are deeply disappointed with the attitude of their Government. Nicola Sturgeon’s warm words and sympathy mean little when the Scottish Government continues to refuse to enact powers Holyrood gave them to stop large stores opening on New Year’s Day. Ministers 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.
 
“Key workers have done so much throughout the pandemic, they deserve some quality time with their families. It’s been a time like no other, they’ve faced higher levels of abuse, covered staff shortages and worked in fear of catching the virus. The least they could hope for is a decent break over the festive period.
 
“For those retailers who do open, we have negotiated national agreements for shops to be staffed with genuine volunteers only and our workplace reps are supporting members to help make sure that happens at store level. We also say to customers, if you must shop on Boxing Day or New Year’s Day, please treat the staff with respect and understand they would most likely rather have the time off. Our campaigns continue.”
 
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.
 
Heart Unions’ week: www.tuc.org.uk/heartunions 14 to 20 February 2022 highlights the positive contribution that trade unions make in workplaces and across wider society.
 
Join Usdaw: www.usdaw.org.uk/Join-Us
 
Usdaw’s festive campaigns: www.usdaw.org.uk/Campaigns/Xmas-isn-t-working and www.usdaw.org.uk/Campaigns/New-Years-Day-Working
 
For Usdaw press releases visit: http://www.usdaw.org.uk/news and you can follow us on Twitter @UsdawUnion

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