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Professional associations react to ‘open shops on 30 Sundays per year’

Shops in Greece will be open 30 Sundays per year and not just eight as it became custom in the last years of bailout agreements. However, professional associations of workers and employers react to the measure claiming the big stores will swallow the small ones.

Shops will be open in touristic areas such as the center of Athens, along the South Attica coast form Piraeus to Cape Sounion, in some areas of Piraeus, around the international airport of Athens Eleftherios Venizelos and in some areas in Thessaloniki, Northern Greece.

The agreement reached between the Greek government and creditors on Thursday morning lifts the restrictions concerning the square meters or the ownership status.

I head today on a television channel that shops will be open during the tourist period from May to the end of  October.

More details will be available, once the measures package comes to the Greek Parliament for voting. Media report that “touristic area” will be considered the one with at least 2,000 beds.

Opening the shops on Sunday is not obligatory.

There have been several objections by small shop owners who fear strong competition by big stores that can afford hiring extra personnel.

The president of Commercial Association of Athens, Nikolaos Kouyioumtzis, said that the measure has been promoted by multi-stores and serves their interests. He recalled the OECD tool kit projections made three years ago, claiming that opening stores on Sunday would yield 2.5 billion euros. This has not been confirmed, because the turnover decreases year by year, the president of CAA stressed and added that 8 Sunday per year were enough given the recession and the economic crisis where the available income for consumption is shrinking month by month.

  • Turnover has decreased by 50% since 2009
  • 250,000 shops closed since 2009
  • 8,500 shops closed since beginning of the year

The Hellenic Confederation of Professionals, Craftsmen & Merchants (GSEVEE) threatens to seek solution in justice with reference to a Council of State decision that had cancelled the law saying shops would open on Sunday in ten regions of Greece. The CoS had ruled that workers had a right to one day off, common for all members of the family.

Objections have been raised also by the union of retail employees who fear to lose labor rights such as 40-hour week, extra work without overtime payment. The gains for workers are not much: either a day off during the week or an extra payment – with the last option to be considered as rare.

Economy minister, Dimitris Papadimitriou, told reporters that government does not agree with the measure. “We disagreed but this happens in most of the European countries and America. We could see it as modernization.”

We should send 1 million unemployed for shopping therapy?” the chairman of GSEVEE wondered.

Professional associations claim that the multi stores will grab the turnover from very small and small shops.

Whatever the outcome of the measure,  there are currently mid spring sales from May 2 to May 15 2017.

By the way: Greece, the government, could start modernization with opening archaeological sites on May 1st, Christmas and Easter Day, to start with. But hey! This could violate the rights of civil servants…

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One comment

  1. The answer to this problem lies with the people. Don’t shop on Sundays; If the shops don’t make money they will not open. It is up to us to support shop workers by boycotting Sunday shopping.