Opening retail stores on 32 Sundays will increase labour hours not jobs, says trade body

The opening of retail stores on 32 Sundays during the year will increase labour hours for employees but will not create new jobs, the Hellenic Confederation of Commerce and Entrepreneurship (ESEE) said in documents sent with a letter of complaint to Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Tuesday.

The ESEE report follows an agreement clinched between Greece and its lenders on Tuesday morning, which almost triples the number of Sundays when stores will operate from the current eight.

The trade body said that to keep an employee for 22 days per month, the additional labour hours are 2,368 per year, versus the current 2,176 labour hours per year which includes the eight Sunday openings.

The opening of retail stores on 32 Sundays “does not contribute to the creation of more jobs but on the contrary it burdens Greek businesspeople personally and professionally,” the body says, adding it seems to have “real meaning only when it is occasional (on Christmas or Easter) as it doesn’t increase competition but adds pressure to small and medium-sized tradesmen.”

ESEE also said even the two Sundays during the Christmas period when stores remain open do not appear to boost the market.