Sunday trading is back on the menu in a big way, as the DTI launches a three-month consultation period on extending the hours. If you have strong feelings about this, I really do urge you not only to get your trade association to lobby for you, but also to email Maria.Bazell@dti.gsi.gov.uk. Do it now!
I believe the government, and most of the large stores, want the hours extended. But the employees certainly don’t. According to union body Usdaw’s general secretary John Hannet, a survey of 500 shop-workers showed a staggering 92% of them totally reject any change to the existing rules.
What surprised me more was that 64% of the public did not want any extra hours to shop on a Sunday, I thought the majority would be in favour.
Perhaps the public’s reluctance stems from a fear of what is already happening to many families in this country. When we see the face of a 14-year-old girl staring out from this week’s national papers, having gleefully egged on and filmed the savage kicking to death of a pub barman, we should indeed all ask the question: “Are we spending enough
time talking to our youngsters, listening to them, and providing some moral guidance?”
That is hard to do if you are frequently absent and equally hard if you are too tired at weekends, especially Sundays, which is traditionally a family day the world over.
The survey also showed that over half of all shopworkers actually want to work fewer hours on a Sunday. John Hannet says: “This is because it is the one day they have a fighting chance to be at home with their families in what is already the most deregulated mar-ket in the whole of Europe.”
He adds: “Our members want to spend more time with their families, especially if they have children, which many retail staff do. When shoppers already have 150 hours a week to spend their money, we think six hours on a Sunday means everyone wins. Shoppers get to shop, retailers get to make money and retail workers get to see their families.”
I believe the majority of craft bakers and in-store bakers share those views. I most certainly do.