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Last Updated: Friday, 5 December, 2003, 08:41 GMT
Ban Christmas Day shopping, says MP
Kevan Jones
MP Kevan Jones wants a change in the law
Union leaders have backed calls from a County Durham MP to outlaw large stores opening on Christmas Day.

Durham North Labour MP Kevan Jones is introducing a private member's bill, which he says will protect shop workers from having to work on 25 December.

The shop workers' union Usdaw has been campaigning for years for legislation to prevent larger shops opening on Christmas Day, but two previous attempts at passing a bill fell through.

A union spokesman said he believed there was now a "very good chance" of closing a loophole in the Sunday trading laws which only bans shops from opening on Christmas Day if it falls on a Sunday.

Usdaw fears that stores are considering opening on Christmas Day and believes staff would then be forced to work against their wishes.

Pressure to work

The spokesman said: "We believe all shop workers have the right to spend Christmas Day with their families.

"We believe there is now a very good chance that legislation will finally be introduced which will offer protection for our members."

The proposed bill would cover stores roughly the size of a tennis court, so would not include corner shops.

Mr Jones said: "Unless it falls on a Sunday, Christmas is treated like any other day by the law.

"A lot of shop workers are coming under pressure to work."


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