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News - 21 October 2003
Christmas Day opening Banned
The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) confirmed this week that an amendment to the 1994 Sunday Trading Act means large stores (0ver 3000 sq ft) and supermarkets will be banned from opening on Christmas Day in an effort to protect shop-workers from being compelled to work.
The ban will not be in place until next year and is the result of a debate between unions, employers and the government that has been ongoing for two years. Currently large stores are only obliged to stay shut when Christmas Day falls on a Sunday but opening has been very variable. A recent survey of over 100 retailers found that 92% did not intend to open on Christmas Day even if it didn’t fall on a Sunday. However Unions argued it was inevitable that eventually economic pressures would compel more stores to consider the option. The survey seemed to confirm this because 19% if those questioned said that their policy would depend upon competitive pressure.
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