Boxing Day opening divides

Boxing Day opening divides

Plans by discount designer outlet mall McArthurGlen Athens to open on Boxing Day, December 26, when stores in Greece traditionally remain closed, have drawn an angry response even before being officially announced.

Unions are speaking about a “labor jungle,” and it is possible they will stage protest rallies against the plan. Retail commerce professionals estimate, however, that if McArthurGlen Athens does decide to operate the day after Christmas, it is possible other enterprises will follow.

The Center of Athens Labor Unions (EKA) said in a statement on Friday that it has been informed in complaints by dozens of employees that McArthurGlen Athens intends to open on December 26.

Sources confirm that stores in the mall at Spata have already informed their employees about the possibility of working on Boxing Day.

Kathimerini contacted McArthurGlen but it responded that it was not yet able to announce its definitive decision.

EKA demanded in its statement that McArthurGlen Athens avoid making such a decision as December 26 “is imprinted in everyone’s conscience as a holiday.”

It should be noted that Boxing Day is not an obligatory holiday but rather a holiday by custom. According to the law, if a company remained closed the day after Christmas in previous years and the employer has decided that it will be a working day this year, workers paid by the month should be paid double for the day (i.e. an extra 4 percent of their salary).

Meanwhile the Hellenic Federation of Private Employees (OIYE) has also issued a statement accusing some enterprises that are planning to adhere to the customary holidays on January 2 and 6 of putting pressure on staff to take those days off so that they do not have to pay them. Notably, McArthurGlen Athens chose to keep its stores open on January 2, 2017 – a day when commercial enterprises traditionally remain closed because employees have worked on the previous three Sundays.

It remains unknown whether a Boxing Day opening at McArthurGlen Athens would also come with major discounts, as in the UK, Canada, Australia, Italy and elsewhere.