Support grows against closure of shops on Sunday


Most participants of Wednesday's round of consultations held at the economy ministry, argued against the planned restrictions on Sunday opening times, business dailies Vilaggazdaság and Napi Gazdaság said on Thursday, quoting general secretary of the National Trade Association György Vámos.

Consultations are under way concerning the proposal of the Christian Democrats (KDNP), the minor partner in the governing alliance, to keep big stores closed on Sunday. KDNP submitted the relevant bill in November.

Vámos said the ministry held a third round of consultations with the affected parties, adding that two trade unions, the Liga Union and the Union of Trade Workers argued against the planned measure. The opponents of the restrictions said it could lead to lay-offs of 20,000-30,000 workers in the sector. On the other hand, those supporting the proposal – the Hungarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and retail chains CBA and Coop – do not believe lay-offs are likely to follow.

"Until there is a government decision on the issue, it makes sense to continue the talks," Vámos said, noting that the broad consultations are a sign of the government's strong willingness to consult stakeholders before making a decision.

Lawmakers of ruling Fidesz party support the KDNP proposal on Sunday retail closures, with some conditions, head of the Fidesz parliamentary group Antal Rogán said at a Monday press conference. Shops where the proprietor or their family members are working would be exempt.

Fidesz wants to see the banning of work on Sundays, and the first step to achieve this is to create legislation to ban work in the retail sector on Sundays, Rogán said.

When KDNP submitted the proposal, economy minister Mihály Varga said it would not be wise to limit Sunday shopping when one-fifth of Hungarians do their weekly shopping on Sunday. Shops could keep open if the employers can agree on terms with employees, he said.

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