Members of one of Britain’s largest trade unions have unanimously rejected Government proposals to extend Sunday trading for larger stores, a survey has revealed.

Of the 10,000 shop worker members of the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers (USDAW) who were asked to respond to an online survey, 91% said they were opposed to the Government’s plans to relax Sunday trading laws.

Under current Government proposals, decision-making could be devolved to local councils to determine whether larger shops, including supermarkets, should be open longer on Sundays. The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills launched a consultation in August which closed on September 16.

According to USDAW, the primary reason members were opposed to the plans was the detrimental effect it would have on their family life. They were also worried about the additional pressure they would come under to to work on Sundays if shops were open for longer. Earlier this month, research carried out by the ACS and Social Market Foundation found that relaxing Sunday trading laws would fail the Government’s own “family test”, which David Cameron introduced last year.

John Hannett USDAW
USDAW general secretary John Hannett: “The Sunday Trading Act gives everyone a little bit of what they want.”

John Hannett, USDAW general secretary, said: “The Sunday Trading Act is a great British 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; while Sunday remains a special day, different to other days, and shop workers can spend some time with their family.”

Industry leaders in the convenience sector have spoken publicly about the devastating impact longer trading hours could have on small shops, including Spar managing director Debbie Robinson, who is working with the ACS to campaign against the proposals.