Call for shops in Scotland to shut at New Year to give staff holiday

Large shops should close on New Year’s Day to give staff a holiday a Labour MSP has said.

Mark Griffin, MSP for Central Scotland asked Nicola Sturgeon if the Scottish Government would require stores to shut on January 1 to allow it to happen.

He said shop staff who worked though the pandemic deserve the same right to a holiday that many others have as a right.

However, the MSP said he was disappointed that no action has been taken to enable this to take place next month, adding it would not impact on the economy.


He said: “There is deep disappointment with the Government’s decision not to use existing powers to close large retail stores on New Year’s Day.

“The Government has made that decision against not only the overwhelming response from workers, who are in favour of closure, but a government report that states that closure is unlikely to have a significant negative effect on the economy.

The First Minister said that current laws are not strong enough to allow that and to guarantee staff would be paid for the holiday.

She said: ““I whole-heartedly appreciate the efforts of retail workers, who have worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic. Members have heard me say before in the chamber that I am sympathetic to calls for large stores to close on New Year’s Day.”

She added, however: “The Christmas Day and New Year’s Day Trading (Scotland) Act 2007 does not ensure that all retail employees would get a day off or, crucially, that they would be paid for that day off. We want to go further than the legislation currently allows by focusing on wider fair work principles across the retail sector.

Sturgeon added she wanted it to be achieved in a way that “benefits workers without inadvertently penalising them”.

She added:“We will do that through our forthcoming retail strategy, as the minister set out in a statement on 26 October.

“I hope that Mark Griffin will accept those points and will work with us to reach that outcome in the months ahead.”

Many supermarkets are closing on Boxing Day this year to give staff two days holiday at Christmas.

Aldi, Home Bargains, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, Waitrose M&S and Iceland are among those who have confirmed closure of stores on Boxing Day.

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