Unions call for proper Christmas break for shopworkers

Business / Wed 14th Dec 2022 at 09:14am

YOUGOV poll finds 79% support their local supermarket closing on Boxing Day – Usdaw calls for a proper Christmas break for shopworkers.

Retail trade union Usdaw has welcomed the support of the shopping public for supermarkets to keep their doors closed on Boxing Day. A YouGov opinion poll of 1,763 UK adults, commissioned by Usdaw, has found that 79% support their local supermarket closing all their stores on Boxing Day. Usdaw’s own surveying found that 97% of supermarket workers also want the closure.

Paddy Lillis – Usdaw General Secretary says: “Last year we welcomed the many retailers who decided not to open on Boxing Day. Regrettably this was not the hoped for beginning of a permanent move away from Boxing Day trading, with too many stores now set to open this 26 December. This YouGov poll and Usdaw’s survey of shopworkers shows that retailers are not only out of touch with their staff, but also with nearly 80% of the public.

“Finishing late on Christmas Eve and then getting straight back to work on Boxing Day means that too many shopworkers spend too little time with their loved ones. Our members tell us of how they arrive home shattered and have to spend time on Christmas Day getting ready for work the next day, which is why 97% want shops to shut on Boxing Day.

“Shops can open for 150 hours a week in the run-up to Christmas and beyond, and many do, so we think a two day break for staff is not unreasonable. Retailers do not need to open on Boxing Day. Last year many retailers talked about rewarding staff for their efforts through the pandemic, clearly that is now forgotten. Retail staff are stressed and exhausted through the long run up to Christmas every year, not just in a pandemic, the very least they could hope for is a decent break over the festive season.

“So we urge retailers to listen to the overwhelming majority of shoppers and shopworkers and keep their doors closed on Boxing Day every year. For those retailers who are opening, we strongly urge them to only staff stores with genuine volunteers. We also say to customers, if you must shop on Boxing Day, please treat the staff with respect and understand they would most likely rather be enjoying a festive day off.”

Christmas messages from shopworkers – some of the comments Usdaw members wrote when completing the union’s Boxing Day survey:

“My child is always upset when I have to work late on Christmas Eve and Boxing Day.”
“I don’t spend any time with family in the weeks running up to Christmas and only get Christmas Day off and Boxing Day if I’m lucky.”
“As a manager I am put under pressure to work. Staff have the option to work on Boxing Day, but managers are told we must pick up the slack if there are not enough volunteers.”
“Last year I only had Christmas Day off during the festive period and couldn’t enjoy it because of the stress of working so many days in the run-up.”
“I can remember Christmas being a holiday, rather than a retail fest”.

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2 Comments for Unions call for proper Christmas break for shopworkers:

David Forman
2022-12-14 09:39:37

Yes, retail workers should not have to work Boxing Day. Retail workers should wake up and join a union. GMB is also available as Asda workers have discovered. Unite the union organise in warehouses. Check out this link: https://www.tuc.org.uk/join-a-union

iain lindsay
2022-12-14 10:39:20

For once, I find myself agreeing with the sentiment of David Forman and the Unions. People have enough time to stockpile groceries in the run-up to Xmas. Indeed, some people on Xmas Eve seem to buy enough to feed a small army. Surely that isn't all consumed in one day? Get out for a long constitutional with your dog or human companions on Boxing Day and spend the time relaxing, rather than haring around shops getting stressed out.

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