06 May 2014 20:07

The decree that sees shops staying open until late expires on May 31 and will be renewed, said Labour Minister Zeta Emilianidou yesterday causing the reaction of Povek trade union who said it will protest if this happens.
She said that the bill has not been submitted yet because first there will be a dialogue with all relevant authorities in order to find common ground about shop opening hours.
Emilianidou said the aim is to prepare a bill within the next three months.
The decree expires on May 31 and sees shops stay open from 5am until 10pm or 11pm (depending on each town) from Monday to Saturday (including Wednesdays) and from 10.30 am until 7.30pm on Sundays.
Previously, the decree that was first issued in July 2013, allowed for shops to stay open from 5am until 11pm from Monday to Saturday (including Wednesdays) and from 9am until 11pm on Sundays.
Before July 2013, extended shop opening hours applied only to shops in tourist areas.
The minister said that longer shop opening hours have helped with the employment of a large number of unemployed.  
She noted that the decree that expires in May has reduced the Sunday opening hours in order to help small businesses.
"Their problems cannot be attributed to the change in opening hours as they existed long before the implementation of the first decree."
House Labour Committee chairman Andreas Fakontis said that the minister promised in December to submit a bill that would regulate shop opening hours but the Labour ministry has not done so.
He said that existing shop opening hours, of seven days a week, and 18 hours a day creates unequal competition and leads to the closing down of many small shops.
On May 22, small businesses will organise a protest and will hang black sheets outside their shops if the minister still intends to renew the decree.


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