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To work or not on the December Sunday?

27 November 2010 / 14:11:04  GRReporter
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A storm of reactions caused the proposal of the Athens Chamber of Commerce for the stores to remain open on Sunday, December 12 this year. For those to whom this first do not seem like news or it is not clear why it will cause a storm we need to make clear that working time of retail centers in Greece is a rather strange thing.

For example, if your stomach starts aching at three o’clock and five minutes in the afternoon on a working day and you do not have an analgesic at home, you are screwed. Pharmacies work up to three o’clock on a Monday and Wednesday, and in the other weekdays they are also open in the afternoon between five and eight in the evening. On Saturday and Sunday there is one pharmacy with extended working hours open in each neighborhood, which may turn out to be a great footwork, if you do not have a car. If you do have a car you will surely have to use it, as it has happened to many of us.

The same applies also to the working time of the stores and small shops, without of course the weekend shifts. If you are an employee with a normal working hours from nine am to six pm on Monday and Wednesday you can forget about going shopping because they are all closed. On Saturday, shops are allowed to work from nine am to three pm, and on Sunday, as a rule they do not work. This rule is respected more than any commandment in Greece.

The measure has initially been imposed to preserve the rights of employees in stores to an eight hour workday and five-day workweek. The only shops that have managed to fight for their right not to close for two hours in the afternoon three days a week (as if they will be able to enjoy an afternoon nap) are large retail chains such as Praktiker, Zara, Ikeya and other similar ones as well as the supermarkets. In times of crisis, however, more and more retailers realize the advantages that if they kept open their shops, as many hours as possible this increases their chances of sales.

On the controversial date of December 12, 2010 is also announced the beginning of the festive period for the Christmas holidays. In the center of Athens will be organized celebrations under the auspices of the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport and the Ministry of the Environment, Energy and Climate change, for which it is believed that it will attract a large number of citizens and guests of the capital. "The Athens trade union decided to participate in the festivities this year and applied at the municipality for the stores to work on Sunday, December 12th from 10 am to 18 pm. In this way we aim to help the market in Athens and to change the negative psychology caused by the economic situation today. "This reads the message of the Chamber of metropolitan merchants who left in horror and shock the Union of the private sector employees.

The unions, apparently irritated by the "exploitative" spirit of the proposal, responded with a furious letter to the media, in which they accused the Athens Chamber of Commerce in serving the interests of large international companies, by secretly lobbying for a permanent right for Sunday to become a workday for the commercial sites. The union of the private sector employees urged the ministry not to allow the opening of the commercial sites on Sunday and in no way to give in to the pressure from the big chain stores that do not respect workers' rights and the existing framework for the shops.

This whole drama seems even more strange, taking into account that Greece claims to be a modern country with well-developed market economy and commercial culture. But then it comes to our minds the fact that here we are still speaking of closed professions, planned prices, guaranteed minimum profits and other elements known from the principles of the planned economy.

Tags: Economy markets working hours Christmas shops Greece
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