Alex Cunningham has met with shopworkers from around the country to discuss the problems they face with having to work on Sundays – and their fears that they would lose even more of their precious weekend time if an amendment to extend the hours of Sunday opening for large shops is successful.
The Labour MP for Stockton North gave his support to shopworkers looking to hold on to some family time and to keep Sundays special in the wake of a series of amendments tabled to the Deregulation Bill that seek to either abolish or amend the Sunday Trading Act.
“I have always felt that Sunday is a special day for everyone – families and communities – whatever your religion. As the shopworkers I met today could testify, it is the only day that many families get to spend together.
“The six hours that large stores are allowed to open on Sundays provides large stores some opportunity to trade, whilst retaining Sunday as a special day and giving shopworkers a breather in an otherwise 24-hour a day industry.
“I am disappointed to see these amendments tabled at the very end of the Commons scrutiny of a Government Bill which does not even address the question of Sunday trading. That is not the way to go about changing something as important as Sundays and I will be voting against the amendments.”
Thanking Alex for his support, John Hannett, Usdaw General Secretary, said: “Usdaw and our members are very grateful to Alex for his continued support in keeping Sundays special – not just for the three million people who work in shops, but for all of us. Sundays are very important for family and community life.
“Many retailers have recognised that extending the hours of opening would simply increase overheads without raising extra revenue through the tills and that is the last thing the retail sector needs in what are difficult times for most.”