Tom Keighley

Member Article

Sunday Trading Bill given Royal Assent

The Bill to suspend Sunday Trading Laws during the Olympic and Paralympic Games received Royal Assent today after it passed the remaining stages in the House of Commons last night.

Shops with a relevant floor area of more than 280 square metres will not be subject to current Sunday trading restrictions during the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Given the short timetable before the start of the Games, the Government tabled an amendment to temporarily reduce the usual period of notice that employees must give their employers if they wish to opt out of Sunday working, from three months to two months.

The move has still courted much criticism from the likes of shopworkers’ union Usdaw.

Business Minister Mark Prisk said: “The Olympic and Paralympic Games are almost upon us and you can sense the excitement building.

“This will be a fantastic opportunity to showcase, not just London, but the whole of the country to the rest of the world and provide a boost for the economy, sales and employment.

“Retail workers will keep all their legal protections, such as the right to opt-out of Sunday working, but many will want to take the opportunity to work extra or different hours.

“I want employers to work with their staff so that we can all make the most of the Olympics.

“I want to make it clear that this is a temporary measure and not a test case for a permanent relaxation of the rules in the future.”

Responding to last night’s vote, Usdaw General Secretary John Hannett said: “The Government again failed to make a coherent and convincing case for the Bill and it became clear during last night’s debate that only a handful of large commercial interests who would prefer a permanent deregulation of Sunday trading backed the temporary suspension.

“Thousands of our members contacted their MP to ask them to vote against this Bill and they will feel let down by the many MPs who failed to recognise the importance of shopworkers having time off with their families.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Tom Keighley .

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