Christmas at home for shopworkers

 by Martin Belam, 26 March 2004

The Christmas Day (Trading) Bill got its second reading in the House of Commons today. It is a measure proposed by MP Kevan Jones and supported by USDAW, which would have been my union when I worked at Reckless had such a thing been recognised by such a small and quirky second-hand record business.

"The Christmas Day (Trading) Bill proposes to ban stores with a floorspace in excess of 280 square metres from opening on Christmas Day in England and Wales. Under current legislation, these stores are only banned from opening if Christmas Day is a Sunday."

Looks like it went well with only one MP opposing it - An early Christmas present for shopworkers.

I don't hold with keeping Christmas special out of any religious conviction, just out of a conviction that it is right to guarantee to shop-workers at least one day of the year when they know they won't be coerced into working unsociable hours to keep their jobs. It is four years since I last worked in a shop now, but I still get pleasantly surprised every time Bank Holidays and Easter come around, and I actually get time off.

1 Comment

Personally I think this is a shame. There are loads of people for whom working on christmas day is a welcome addition to the pay packet. Those without children, those without family, those who can't afford not to work on a day when money is doubled or even tripled.

I wasn't a shop worker, but I worked christmas day from the time I got my cab licence until the time my son was around 2, when he noticed our christmas eve and christmas day was a day later than everyone elses. I wouldn't have been impressed being told that I couldn't work. Other bank holidays weren't worth working (even on the Saturday) as customers cleared off for the weekend.

I think it's fair that people aren't forced to work on bank holidays. But I also think it's fair that people who want to get that choice.

I'd prefer to work the bank holidays and get time off in lieu. I don't particularly want Mondays off. What the hell can you do with a Monday??

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