We use cookies to ensure that we can give you the best user experience. By continuing to use our website you are consenting to their use. Find out more.

What language do you need?

Sign the petition: All shopworkers want for Christmas is a decent break - Usdaw says 81% are not happy to work on Boxing Day

Date: 19 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:
  • 81% are not happy to work on Boxing Day.
  • 76% feel they spend too little time with their loved ones at Christmas.
  • 61% say that Boxing Day working is not voluntary.
Paddy Lillis – Usdaw General Secretary says: “Retail staff work very long hours in the run-up to Christmas and it can be really stressful. 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 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.
“Quite shocking is that nearly two-thirds of shopworkers say that Boxing Day working is not voluntary and staff consequently come under pressure to work when they would rather not. 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:
  • “A total of 38 hours off between Christmas Eve and Boxing Day is not enough time to spend with the family.”
  • “The reality is not many staff want to work on Boxing Day, if you don’t enough volunteers staff are forced to when they don’t really want to.”
  • “As a father of young children, it is heart-breaking for them to only have one day with me.”
  • “We work extra stupid hours in the run-up to Christmas and we are exhausted by Christmas Day.”
  • “It’s voluntary at the moment, but one manager was overheard to say ‘well they won’t get any favours from me’.
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 store, 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

Share this page

Free prize draw

Enter our free prize draw to win a £100 Love2Shop Gift Voucher courtesy of Lighthouse Financial Advice.

The official website of the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers