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Boxing Day trading: Usdaw delegates unanimously back the closure of stores on 26 December

Date: 01 May 2022 Delegates at the Usdaw Annual Delegate Meeting in Blackpool have today unanimously backed a call for shops to be closed on Boxing Day, to give shopworkers a much needed festive break.
Speaking to the conference in the Winter Gardens, Dave McCrossen – Usdaw Deputy General Secretary said: “It has been Usdaw's long standing position that stores should not open on Boxing Day. The run up to Christmas is the busiest and most stressful time in retail. It's an extremely important trading period, providing bumper profits for businesses and let’s not forget they make those profits from the tireless work of retail staff.
 
“The Christmas build up seems to start earlier every year and it can be an incredibly stressful time. Busy stores, long hours, and unacceptable spikes in abuse from customers who think it is OK to take out their frustrations on shop staff. This all adds up to a workforce that is both physically and emotionally exhausted by the time stores finally close their doors on Christmas Eve.
 
“Shops can open for 150 hours a week in the run-up to Christmas and beyond, and far too many do. Is it really too much to ask for our members to have a decent break at Christmas? While there may be no legal requirement for stores to close on Boxing Day, it is clearly the right thing to do.
 
“Our members deserve time to rest and recuperate, to spend time with their family and their friends and, importantly, to be able to relax and properly enjoy the festivities. Instead, for many it is a case of getting home late on Christmas Eve. Spending Christmas Day shattered and getting straight back to work on Boxing Day. That's no way to get the most out of your workforce, or to show staff that they are truly valued and appreciated.
 
“The results of our survey were overwhelming and absolutely clear. Our members want and they deserve time off on Boxing Day. We have had some successes, with a number of retailers agreeing to close their stores on Boxing Day last year. Many others gave commitments that working the day would be on a purely voluntary basis.
While this may not go as far as we would want, it should at least give our members a choice.
 
“Every worker should have a day off on Boxing Day and nobody should have to lose pay because their store is closed. We will continue to make the case for a proper break at Christmas, for all of our members. The pandemic saw our members rightly recognised as key workers. Here is a fantastic opportunity to show our members that those words were not empty, but meaningful and heartfelt.”
 
Notes for editors:
 
Usdaw (Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers) is the UK's fifth biggest trade union with around 360,000 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.
 
For Usdaw press releases visit: http://www.usdaw.org.uk/news and you can follow us on Twitter @UsdawUnion

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