Trade unions wish to impose Sunday trading ban in Poland

25.04.2016

NSZZ Solidarność, the biggest Polish trade union, is calling for a law prohibiting Sunday trading. During a conference that took place lately in the Polish parliament, the union announced that it would be commencing the collection of signatures for a civil draft law. In order to bring the draft to the Sejm (lower chamber of the parliament) it has to be signed by at least 100 thousand adult citizens.

Unionists indicate that employees in the retail sector are tired of working seven days a week without reasonable time for their family life. According to the union, the ban on Sunday is intended to create “a new quality of life for families, both those working in the retail sector and those buying”. They are convinced that such restrictions apply successfully in many countries of the European Union such as Austria or Germany.

Under the presented draft law, trading is to be prohibited on Sundays, holidays, Christmas Eve and Holy Saturday. There are, however, some exceptions such as certain Sundays before Christmas and Easter or one Sunday during end-of-season sales. Small shops of limited area run by the owner or their family members, bakeries, petrol stations, florists, and shops in hospitals and airports are to be exempted from the prohibition.

According to the statistics prepared by the government couple years ago, a general Sunday trading prohibition could reduce Treasury income by up to PLN 1.5 billion. Fifty to seventy thousand employees, mainly low-qualified women in their forties, could lose their jobs too. On the other hand, the unionists maintain that there will definitely be no redundancies. They believe that shops cut costs and got rid of the staff over the past few years and now they have already reached the minimum employment. Confederations of employers are protesting and warning that the new act would result in rise in unemployment.

To compare, in 2015 a prohibition on Sunday trading was introduced in Hungary. However, just a few days ago Victor Orban’s government backtracked on this policy. According to the polls, nearly two-thirds of Hungarians were against the restrictions.