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From The Socialist newspaper, 1 July 2020
Sunday trading: Government blinks first
photo Geoff Williams/CC (Click to enlarge)
Iain Dalton, Usdaw Broad Left Chair
Leaked reports emerged in mid-June that the government was looking at relaxing Sunday trading legislation for a year. It was rumoured that this was be proposed very quickly in the government's Coronavirus Recovery Bill.
The current legislation means large retail stores can only open for six hours on a Sunday between the hours of 10am and 6pm, giving many retail workers one evening they know they can spend with their family.
Until this announcement, Usdaw, the shop and distribution workers' union, officially had a position of passivity in the face of the growing undermining of Sunday opening restrictions, such as several local authorities relaxing enforcement, and Morrisons blatantly opening for longer hours.
Fortunately, since that announcement, campaigning has been ramped up, with an online tool for members to write to MPs, and a survey of members.
The survey revealed that an overwhelming 92% of members are opposed to longer opening hours for large stores, while 51% wanted to work less hours on Sunday (only 3% wanted to work longer hours!)
It is this anger among retail workers which has led to the rebellion among backbench Tory MPs, and means these proposals are not going to be in the Coronavirus Recovery Bill now.
However, given that Boris Johnson has been stating to the press that "we will keep measures such as extending Sunday trading hours under review", to declare a conclusive victory is premature.
Equally concerning is Usdaw general secretary Paddy Lillis' emphasis on a "tripartite recovery plan", which sounds like a new version of partnership. The experience for Usdaw members of 'partnership working' over the last few decades has demonstrated that this is a recipe for putting the interests of employers first and those of retail workers last.
Usdaw must take an independent stance in defence of retail workers - demanding decent pay, terms and conditions, and backing that up with action where necessary.
Where companies enter crisis, we should demand they are brought into public ownership to save jobs, in line with Usdaw conference policy.
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In The Socialist 1 July 2020:
No going back
A socialist NHS fit for heroes
PCS: Change in leadership needed to secure union's future
Come to the NSSN conference
Sunday trading: Government blinks first
Trade unionists stand in solidarity with Maxine Peake
Equity union president elections
Tower Hamlets council strike
MoJ cleaners' covid outbreak
What we think
Workers need a new mass party to defend their interests
Tories put profit before lives
Boris's new big deal
Tory full return to school plans gamble with lives
Yes to self-identity: Fight for trans rights
Benefits system being used to force return to unsafe workplaces
Leeds City Council in danger of bankruptcy
Capitalism and corruption go hand in hand
Plastic waste ignored
News in brief
I left Labour and want to end capitalism - join us in Socialist Party
Cardiff community fights nursery closure: Council must step in
Fighting Fund: Target smashed by half time
Black Lives Matter has not stopped - protesters flock to Socialists
Selling the Socialist
Red flags line road for Ken Douglas
Lessons from history
75th anniversary of the Attlee Labour government
From slavery to Black Lives Matter - racism and capitalist injustice exposed
The Socialist 1 July 2020 |
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