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Commercial law: Shop workers oppose Sunday trading law change for Olympics this summer

A union survey of 20,000 shop workers has revealed that more than 75% are opposed to plans to suspend Sunday trading laws during the Olympic Games this summer. The survey also concluded that just 12% of those asked were actually in favour of the move.

The survey comes after the Government recently announced that they will change the law restricting opening hours for large stores during the Olympic Games.

Currently legislation restricts opening to just six hours on a Sunday.

Half of the shop workers in the survey said they already felt that they were facing pressure from their employers to work on Sundays. Three-quarters feel that they would face even greater pressure if the law was changed to allow longer opening times on Sundays.

The union in question is USDAW, the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers. Their general secretary is John Hannett.

"Shop workers have once again made it clear that they oppose any further deregulation of Sunday trading and today we have made sure the Government has heard the reasons why," he said, after an USDAW representative met with a government minister to explain their membership's view of the proposals.

"Our members don't want to lose the one day they get to spend some quality time with their families and they quite properly fear the very detrimental impact deregulation would have on their caring responsibilities and their ability to maintain any semblance of work-life balance," he added.

It was thought that the Government had missed the boat to change Sunday trading laws in time for the Olympics. However, they recently announced that legislation was likely to be rushed through in time, prompting opponents to claim that the plans had not been properly considered, and those affected by the change were not consulted.

A spokesman for the government department responsible for the change, the Department for Business, said: "Workers will keep all protections, including the right to opt out of Sunday working, so no employees will be forced to work a Sunday during the suspension of Sunday trading laws this summer," they said.

Related links:

Read more on the story (Press Association)

Sunday trading requirements for large shops (FindLaw)