The Hellenic Confederation of Commerce and Entrepreneurship (ESEE) announced it will launch a strike on Sunday, May 7, to protest legislation that will increase the number of Sundays that retail outlets are allowed to operate during the year. Opening shops 30 Sundays per year is included in the deal Greece and creditors agreed on Thursday, an OECD precondition.
Sunday, May 7th, falls within the two-week mid-season sales and has been designated as a day when shops can stay open in most areas of the country.
ESEE objects to the proposed legislation as a thinly-veiled “photographic” attempt to essentially abolish the Sunday holiday in all coastal areas from Piraeus to Sounio, the centre of Athens, the entire Thessaloniki sea front and the areas around the Athens and Thessaloniki international airports, including the large retail parks that surround them.
Opening shops on 30 Sundays is not obligatory. According to media, the measure will extend form May to October.
It argues that the measure disproportionately favours large retailers and chains at the expense of small shops and businesses, who will lose market share and struggle to cover the costs of opening for an additional day.
Under the deal agreed between the Greek government and the country’s lenders in the early hours of Tuesday, Greece is to pass legislation extending the tourism season and the definition of tourism areas, effectively increasing the number of Sundays shops can open to 30, instead of the current eight.
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.