Backing for bid to shut shops on Boxing Day

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Shoppers get ready to spend money over the festive period. Pic by Isabel Eaton © JMU Journalism

Shoppers get ready to spend money over the festive period. Pic by Isabel Eaton © JMU Journalism

A petition to close stores on Boxing Day has gathered over 200,000 signatures, with local shop workers among those back the bid to half festive shopping.

Ian Lapworth started the petition two months ago and has received support from people all over the country. On his change.org page, he said: “Shops, especially supermarkets, do not need to open on Boxing Day.

“Whilst not everyone may see Christmas as a religious holiday, it should be respected as such, and retail workers, who work so hard on the run up to the big day, should be given some decent family time to relax and enjoy the festivities like everyone else.”

Boxing Day sales have long been a tradition for most people, with some stores opening their doors at 5am to allow customers to bag the best bargains. For retail workers this means that Christmas is their only day off during the busy festive period.

Matt Newton, a retail worker from Liverpool, described his experience of working Boxing Day last year: “I worked a 9-6 shift for Boxing Day. Our store was busy from the moment we opened to the moment we closed.

“On the whole the customers we had were pleasant and courteous although there were some who were less than pleasant, a common occurrence you find with some shoppers on Boxing Day.”

YouTube: Al Jazeera

The shop workers’ trade union Usdaw have welcomed the debate generated by the petition. They said: “Usdaw is seeking the longest possible break for retail staff over the Christmas and New Year period, as staff in retail work very long hours in the run up to Christmas. Our members tell us that they need time to recuperate as well as to spend time with their family and friends.”

Usdaw have previously won the campaign for legislation to stop large stores opening on Christmas Day. They are calling for small stores to do the same, and are calling for stores to close on Boxing Day and New Year’s day, as well as closing at 4pm on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve.

Last year a similar debate was launched with the Government responding saying they will not ban shops from opening on Boxing Day. A recent online poll showed 88% of people said they will not be shopping on Boxing Day this year.

About Isabel Eaton, JMU Journalism