City shops allowed to open this Sunday

Stores in Athens will open tomorrow, Prefect Yiannis Sgouros said yesterday, rebuffing vehement protests by workers’ unions who have been opposing the move and angering authorities in other municipalities who will be unable to permit their local stores to operate on that day. Development Minister Christos Folias welcomed the decision by authorities in the capital and praised them for «responding to the needs of the market.» Existing legislation permits the prefect to authorize the operation of stores on Sunday, Folias’s deputy Giorgos Vlachos told Skai Radio. Fearing that the move might set a precedent, workers’ union representatives continued to express their opposition to the move yesterday despite the ministry’s insistence that the presence of employees at their workplaces this Sunday would be voluntary. They were backed by the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) and the Communist Party (KKE) who condemned the initiative as exploitative. The decision was welcomed by ruling New Democracy and main opposition party PASOK. Meanwhile traders in other parts of Attica and elsewhere around the country – anxious to make up for the negative impact on turnover of recent riots – objected to having their hands tied while stores in Athens were being allowed to open. Giorgos Papachrysanthos, president of the traders’ association in the affluent suburb of Maroussi, said the decision was an unfair advantage for traders in the city center. Representatives of several traders’ associations are intent on defying the orders of local and central government, saying that stores would open in their areas on Sunday.

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