Lothian MSP Neil Findlay has joined with the shop workers union, USDAW, and its members, to urge the Scottish Government to launch a consultation on introducing legislation to ban large shops from opening on New Year’s Day.

USDAW has launched a petition and shop workers have delivered over 3000 postcards to the Scottish Parliament, putting pressure on MSPs to support the call .

The Christmas Day and New Year’s Day Trading Act (Scotland) Act 2007 prohibits trading in most large shops on Christmas Day and gave powers to the Scottish Government to stop the opening of those shops on New Year’s Day as well, which has never been enacted.

Neil Findlay MSP said:

“The festive period should be a joyous occasion and a time of relaxation for everyone. For shop workers, it can be a busy and tiring time working long hours and spending little time with friends and family.

“I am fully behind USDAW’s call to shut large shops on New Year’s Day. Nicola Sturgeon should listen carefully to shop workers across Scotland and use the powers of the Scottish Parliament to make sure that everyone can enjoy a day of rest on 1st January.

Stewart Forrest – Usdaw’s Scottish Divisional Officer says:

“We welcome that the First Minister has agreed to look carefully at Usdaw’s campaign to close large store on New Year’s Day. However, in the 13 years since legislation was passed, we now need the required consultation to take place, not just warm words in the Scottish Parliament. So we would like the opportunity to meet with the First Minister, to help her understand the detail of our case and seek a commitment to consult with the people of Scotland about New Year’s Day trading.

“The strength of feeling among our members is clearly demonstrated by our survey and over 3,000 of them writing to their MSPs asking for support. Retail staff work incredibly hard all

year round, but it is particularly busy and stressful throughout December. So they deserve to be able to spend time with family and friends, only 4% of Scottish retail workers are happy to work on New Year’s Day.

“Hogmanay and New Year is a special holiday, but this is not reflected in the experience of many retail workers. Under the Christmas Day and New Year’s Day Trading (Scotland) Act 2007 Scottish Ministers may, by statutory instrument, ban large shops from opening on New Year’s Day, subject to consultation.

“On behalf of Scotland’s retail workers, we are urging the Scottish Government to open that consultation and for MSPs to listen to shop workers concerns about their work/life balance.”

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