Greece: Workers and business owners oppose Sunday shop opening

The extension of shop opening times to Sundays has brought opposition from employees and small business owners.

On 4 July 2014, a meeting took place between representatives of the Federation of Private Sector Employees (OIYE) and for the employers, the Federation of Private Sector Employees (GSEVEE) and National Confederation of Hellenic Commerce (ESEE).

On 8 July 2014, the three organisations filed an appeal before the Council of State opposing the decision of the Deputy Minister for Development and Competitiveness compelling shops to open on the 52 Sundays of the year in 10 regions across Greece. They sought an injunction and temporary suspension of the decision.

The government believes the new measure will generate growth and jobs, and stimulate consumer spending. Representatives of large shops from the Hellenic Business Retail Association (SELPE) welcomed the new rules and hoped they would lead to an increase in turnover.

According to ESEE:

  • 75% of merchants were dissatisfied by the measure and by their Sunday turnover;
  • 64% of businesses felt the cost of Sunday trading was unaffordable, while 40%–50% of shops could not afford to open;
  • 95% were not prepared to hire extra staff in the immediate future.

On 12 September 2014, the Council of State responded to the appeal by the OIYE, GSEVEE and ESEE. It temporarily blocked the pilot opening of shops for the 52 Sundays of the year in 10 regions of the country.

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