19 December 2013 22:51

A decree on longer shop opening hours that sees shops staying open until late is expected to be renewed, despite union objections.
This was the outcome of a meeting between Labour minister Zeta Emilianidou and trade unions on Wednesday.
Trade unions however, say that this threatens the closure of even more small businesses.
They argue that to date around 40 kiosks have shut down since the issuing of the decree, while it also presupposes that employees work on Sundays.
The decree on longer shop opening hours was first issued in July and was then renewed by the Labour Minister until the end of November, when Christmas shop opening hours came into effect.
According to the decree, shops can stay open from 5am until 11pm from Monday to Saturday (including Wednesday) and from 9am until 11pm on Sundays.
Previously only shops in tourist areas were allowed to stay open for longer at weekends.
Emilianidou met with the trade unions to discuss longer shop opening hours in view of the upcoming meeting for the reissuing of the decree in parliament.
Left-wing union federation PEO said that through the reissuing of the decree, the minister is essentially overriding the law on shop opening hours.
They added that it is unacceptable that the state continues to ignore the position of employees.
Employees say that the decree promotes exploitation of the workforce and puts pressure on shopkeepers. It also ignores the thousands of shop owners who say that they are being denied the right of a Sunday rest.
"In order to combat unemployment and strengthen the economy, we need fundamental policies of development and creation of quality job vacancies and not policies that puts pressure on and takes advantage of employees," said a PEO statement.
Small Shopkeepers' Union Povek also asked the Labour Minister not to renew the decree that will make the whole island a tourist area and threaten to put many shopkeepers out of business.
He also referred to the fact that Christmas spending, which has been falling in the last three years, is considerably reduced during the recession.


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