Tradesmen refute data on Sunday gains

The unions representing small and medium-sized merchant companies and commerce employees launched an attack against Development Minister Costis Hatzidakis and Deputy Prime Minister Evangelos Venizelos on Monday on the issue of stores being allowed to operate on Sundays, threatening the government with strike action.

The Hellenic Confederation of Professionals, Craftsmen & Merchants (GSEVEE), the National Confederation of Hellenic Commerce (ESEE) and the Federation of Private Employees of Greece (OIYE) oppose a provision in a new bill on market operation concerning the optional opening of stores on every Sunday of the year. They appear determined to turn Sunday from “a day of rest” into “a day of strike,” according to ESEE president Vassilis Korkidis.

The unions refuted data presented by the ministry suggesting that retailers would see their earnings grow if they open on Sundays.

Korkidis said that if stores with five employees stay open every Sunday they will see salary costs grow by 25 percent and electricity costs rise by 16 percent on a yearly basis.

Retailers already expect a 13 percent drop in turnover in 2013 from 2012.

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