Major retailers are being urged to close their stores on Boxing Day to give workers a decent break this Christmas.
The shopworkers’ union Usdaw has written to company bosses pointing out how hard store staff have been working this year as a result of the coronavirus crisis.
The move followed an announcement by Marks & Spencer that it will keep all of its stores closed on Boxing Day this year.
Paddy Lillis, general secretary of Usdaw, said in the letter: “With the country facing a crisis unlike any in our lifetime, retail and distribution workers have stepped up and kept food on all of our tables.
“The extraordinary response of essential retailers to the crisis has been rightly praised, and that response is down to the hard work and efforts of shopworkers on the front line.
“When others stay safe at home, they go out to work. They have faced increased levels of violence and abuse, as well as huge worries about their health and that of their families.”
Mr Lillis said the easing of restrictions on households meeting for a short period over Christmas will be “little comfort” to retail workers, with many feeling under pressure to work on Boxing Day, even where it is supposed to be voluntary.
“The only way they will be guaranteed a decent break at Christmas is if food retailers close for Boxing Day,” he said.
“For key workers, who have done so much this year, asking for shops to close on Boxing Day, so that they can have some quality time with their families, is really not too much to ask for. 2020 has been a year like no other, so let’s ensure that retail workers get a decent break at Christmas.”