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Campaigners take aim at Sunday shopping

Will consumers have any money left for Sunday shopping? Keystone Archive

A campaign has been launched to fight a recent decision by parliament to ease Sunday shopping restrictions.

This content was published on November 18, 2004 - 15:45

A coalition of trade unions, consumer organisations, shopkeepers and churches has started a petition to force a nationwide vote on the issue.

Presenting its case to the media in Bern on Thursday, campaigners said allowing shops at major railway stations and airports to remain open on Sundays would neither increase sales nor bring any benefits for shop employees.

The launch of the campaign comes less than two months after parliament came out in favour of relaxing the country’s strict Sunday trading restrictions.

Opponents have attacked the proposal, arguing that it will only serve to redistribute trade over seven days instead of six.

“Each Swiss franc can only be spent once,” said committee member and Social Democrat parliamentarian, Alain Berset.

No Sunday pay

Union representatives said shop personnel would not be entitled to extra pay for working on Sundays, and that most employees were opposed to the idea.

Regula Rytz of the Swiss Federation of Trade Unions said she feared that the law would open the door to making Sunday a normal working day in all sectors.

Parliamentarians had argued that the new law would clear up confusion over current regulations, which limit the type of goods that can be sold on a Sunday.

They said visitors arriving in the country by train or plane should not be faced with closed shops.

swissinfo with agencies

Key facts

At present, shops at seven major railway stations are open on Sundays.
The referendum committee needs to collect 50,000 signatures over the next couple of months to force a nationwide vote.
Shop employees who currently work on Sundays are the worst paid in the sector, with average monthly salaries of SFr3,500 ($3,000).

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