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Over 3,000 Usdaw members call on their MSPs to stop shops opening on Ne'er Day

Date: 09 January 2020 Shopworkers’ trade union Usdaw today delivered over 3,000 postcards to the Scottish Parliament from shopworkers who are calling for an end to New Year’s Day trading in large stores.
The union has launched a petition on the Scottish Parliament website that calls on the Scottish Parliament to urge the Scottish Government to launch a consultation on implementing legislation already in place to ban most large shops from opening on New Year’s Day.
 
Sign the petition at: www.parliament.scot/GettingInvolved/Petitions/newyearsday
 
The Christmas Day and New Year’s Day Trading Act (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 as well, which has never been enacted.
 
An extensive Usdaw survey of over 1,000 Scottish retail staff, found that:
  • 98% say that stores should be shut on New Year’s Day
  • Three-quarters feel they spend too little time with friends and family over New Year.
  • Only 4% are happy to work on New Year’s Day or 2 January.
The full survey results can be viewed at: www.usdaw.org.uk/NYDSurvey
 
Stewart Forrest – Usdaw’s Scottish Divisional Officer says: “We welcome that the First Minister has agreed to look carefully at Usdaw's campaign to close large store on New Year's Day. However in the 13 years since legislation was passed, we now need the required consultation to take place, not just warm words in the Scottish Parliament. So we would like the opportunity to meet with the First Minister, to help her understand the detail of our case and seek a commitment to consult with the people of Scotland about New Year's Day trading.
 
“The strength of feeling among our members is clearly demonstrated by our survey and over 3,000 of them writing to their MSPs asking for support. 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, only 4% of Scottish retail workers are happy to work on New Year’s Day.
 
“Hogmanay and New Year is a special holiday, but this is not reflected in the experience of many retail workers. Under the Christmas Day and New Year’s Day Trading (Scotland) Act 2007 Scottish Ministers may, by statutory instrument, ban large shops from opening on New Year’s Day, subject to consultation.
 
“On behalf of Scotland’s retail workers, we are urging the Scottish Government to open that consultation and for MSPs to listen to shopworkers concerns about their work/life balance.”
 
What 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 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.
 
For Usdaw press releases visit: http://www.usdaw.org.uk/news and you can follow us on Twitter @UsdawUnion

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