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All shopworkers want for Christmas is a decent break - Usdaw finds 77% say Boxing Day working ruins Christmas

Date: 23 December 2019 Retail trade union Usdaw is seeking the longest possible break over the Christmas and New Year period, to provide shopworkers with a well-deserved breather.
Sign the petition: www.megaphone.org.uk/p/XmasIsNotWorking
An Usdaw survey of over 12,000 shopworkers found that:
  • 77% say Boxing Day working affects their ability to enjoy Christmas.
  • 76% feel they spend too little time with their loved ones at Christmas.
  • 97% want stores to be closed on Boxing Day.
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 of how they arrive home shattered and have to spend time on Christmas Day getting ready for work the next day.
“So Usdaw welcomes retailers who decide not to open on Boxing Day and we urge others to follow suit. Shops can open for 150 hours a week in the run-up to Christmas and beyond, and many do, so we think a two day break is more than reasonable. Retailers do not need to open on Boxing Day.
“If retailers decide to open we strongly urge them to only staff the store with genuine volunteers. We also say to customers, if you must shop on Boxing Day, please treat the staff with respect and understand they most likely would rather be somewhere else.”
Christmas messages from shopworkers: These are some of the comments Usdaw members wrote when completing Usdaw’s Boxing Day survey:
  • “My child is always upset when I have to work late on Christmas Eve and Boxing Day.”
  •  “I don’t spend any time with family in the weeks running up to Christmas and only get Christmas Day off and Boxing Day if I’m lucky.”
  • “As a manager I am put under pressure to work. Staff have the option to work on Boxing Day, but managers are told we must pick up the slack if there are not enough volunteers.”
  • “Last year I only had Christmas Day off during the festive period and couldn’t enjoy it because of the stress of working so many days in the run-up.”
  • “I can remember Christmas being a holiday, rather than a retail fest”.
Notes for editors:
Usdaw (Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers) is the UK's fifth biggest and the fastest growing trade union with over 410,000 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.
Festive working: Usdaw won the campaign for legislation to stop large stores opening on Christmas Day and we are calling for small stores to follow suit and stay shut. We are also calling for shops to be closed on Boxing Day and New Year’s Day; as well as closing by 4pm on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve.
Usdaw’s Boxing Day Survey: 12,036 Usdaw members, from across the UK, responded to an online Usdaw survey after Boxing Day 2018. 85% worked in retail stores, 7% in retail distribution and 7% in other workplaces. 41% had worked on Boxing Day 2018, 39% in 2017 and 55% in previous years.
For Usdaw press releases visit: http://www.usdaw.org.uk/news and you can follow us on Twitter @UsdawUnion

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