Retail stores are set to open on the last Sunday of the year, December 28, as the multi-bill that the Development Ministry is about to table in Parliament in the coming days will provide for a law amendment to that effect.
This change will satisfy a longstanding demand from the commercial sector, but it is certain to generate fresh reactions of the part of employees.
The law that dates from last year provides for the opening of stores on seven Sundays a year across the country, including the two Sundays before Christmas. For this year that means December 14 and 21.
From the outset the market had noted that instead of the two Sundays before Christmas, the law should have provided for stores opening on the last two Sundays of the year, when private sector employees will have received their Christmas bonus, which amounts to a month’s salary.
Still, a sizable number of tradesmen believe that stores might as well open this Sunday, too, as the turnover recorded so far this month has been particularly low. This is attributed to a number of protest rallies in recent days as well as political and economic developments.
Last year merchants had also submitted a demand for stores to be allowed to open on the last Sunday of the year, but it was not satisfied by the government on the grounds of lack of time, as such a change would require a law amendment and not just a ministerial decision.
Separately the Attica Regional Authority, which is now headed by a member of leftist SYRIZA, Rena Dourou, has vetoed the initiative of merchants in Kifissia, northern Athens, to stage a so-called “white night,” during which stores would have stayed open until late on the evening of December 19.