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The dispute on working on Sundays continues

23 July 2013 / 23:07:32  GRReporter
2287 reads

Anastasia Balezdrova

Greek consumers are once again about to get away with being able to shop on Sundays. Minister of Development Kostis Hatzidakis has withdrawn the provision of the bill stipulating that the mayors of Athens, Thessaloniki and Piraeus will have to determine how many Sundays a year shops with an area of less than 250 square metres will be open.

The change was made at the request of PASOK and now deputy governors will have the power to decide on the opening hours of shops.

Earlier, Kostis Hatzidakis had made another three amendments to the bill. He pointed out that all interested sides had almost agreed that large shops could be open seven Sundays a year whereas the deputy governors must, within three months, issue orders regarding the shops with an area of less than 250 square metres. Otherwise, they would be penalized. The opening hours of shops in tourist areas will not change.

The changes in the legal text were introduced a day after the scientific service of the parliament announced its position in connection with the introduction of working on Sundays for shops.

The experts state that the number of Sundays as working days varies in different regions which leads to inequality in the regulation of such matters. As they point out in the statement, since the measure is not mandatory, shops in all regions should be open on an equal number of Sundays.

In addition to the opposition parties - "members" of the front against the Memorandum, the former coalition partner of New Democracy and PASOK, Democratic Left, had opposed the bill as well. "The impact of the measure will be detrimental to retailers and will further deteriorate the working conditions of employees in commercial sites," the party stressed.

Dimitris Koutsoumbas, chairman of the Greek Communist Party (KKE), was of a similar opinion. He pointed out that the introduction of working on Sundays "will bring thousands of small shops to bankruptcy and unpaid work for thousands of working people."

He made his statements during the protest meeting which the party trade union PAME had organized in Omonia Square. Around 1,000 people gathered there, the majority of them being pensioners and young people. Their procession set off to the parliament building, passing through the commercial centre of Athens, namely the Varvakios covered market, Monastiraki and Ermou Street along which they reached Syntagma Square.

The protesting supporters of KKE and its members were holding in their hands the slogan "Hands off Sunday, the day off." At the square, they met with about 40 protesters from the association of craftsmen and tradesmen, who had arrived there earlier.

The protest was peaceful whereas the debates on the text of the bill were violent.

Earlier today, the Hellenic Federation of Enterprises and the National Confederation of Greek Commerce called for the repeal of the protests. The final text of the bill will be drawn up in parliament in the coming days.

Tags: PoliticsEconomyWorking on SundaysBillProtests
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