Belfast Telegraph

Union urges no change to Northern Ireland Sunday trading laws

By David Young

A controversial plan to designate Belfast as a 'holiday resort' in order to allow big retailers to extend their Sunday opening hours is to be decided by the City Council this week.

The plan has been slammed by shop workers' union USDAW.

The union has urged its members to lobby their city councillors to vote down the plan at tomorrow's crunch meeting of the council's Strategic Policy and Resources Committee.

USDAW General Secretary Elect Paddy Lillis said: "We are asking our members and all shopworkers in Belfast to make one last push to persuade the city councillors not to support the proposal to designate Belfast as a holiday resort, which will allow large stores to open longer on Sundays between March and September. Our members remain absolutely opposed to extended Sunday trading.

"The current Sunday trading arrangements are a fair compromise, which has worked well for over 20 years, and gives everyone a little bit of what they want.

"Retailers can trade, customers can shop, staff can work; whilst Sunday remains a special day, different to other days, and shopworkers can spend some time with their family."

Small retailer interests are also opposed to the extension of Sunday trading hours for large stores, while tourism and hospitality chiefs have thrown their weight behind it.

A consultation by Belfast City Council found that a majority of those who responded were in favour of extending Sunday opening hours across the city.

Belfast Telegraph

Weekly Business Digest Newsletter

This week's business news headlines, directly to your inbox every Tuesday.