Bid to outlaw Christmas Day trading

 The House of Lords is considering a Bill to ban large stores and supermarkets from opening on Christmas Day. Lord Davies of Coity, a former general secretary of the shop workers trade union, USDAW, was scheduled to urge peers to give a Second Reading to the Christmas Day (Trading) Bill, yesterday. Earlier this year, more than 150,000 people signed a petition calling for an end to Christmas day trading. The Bill received overwhelming support from MPs, churches and trade unions, when it was presented to the House of Commons. But never became law, because its passage ran out of time when the general election was called. Last year, chains including Woolworths, Budgens, Sainsbury and the Co-op, opened some of their branches over the festive period. Trade unions fear many that many more will want to open in future. Shop staff should not be forced to leave their families to go to work on Christmas Day, Lord Davies said. The current USDAW general secretary, Bill Connor said: "The Christmas and New Year period is the busiest time in retail. Most shop workers are not allowed to take any holiday during December and early January." He said many staff were already expected at work for the start of sales on Boxing Day, adding: "We believe that Christmas is a very special time and shop workers should be allowed to spend their day in whatever way they wish." Lord Davies said he was confident the Bill would be successful. He said: "It is a simple measure that seeks to correct an anomaly in the current law, which stops shops from opening on Christmas Day only when it falls on a Sunday. I don't believe shops should open on Christmas Day, regardless of what day of the week it falls and that is what my Bill aims to do."

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