Shopkeepers to strike next Sunday, in protest against changes to Sunday opening laws

The Hellenic Confederation of Commerce and Entrepreneurship (ESEE) on Tuesday announced plans for a strike by its members on Sunday, May 7 in protest against legislation that would increase the number of Sundays that retail outlets are allowed to operate in the year.

The coming Sunday, which falls within the two-week mid-season sales, 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.

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.