Budapest, November 6 (MTI) – The government has expressed support for the co-ruling Christian Democrats’ proposal to introduce restrictions on shops’ opening hours on Sundays, the party’s parliamentary group leaders said.
Business Assoc Warns Against Keeping Shops Closed on Sundays
Peter Harrach told a press conference that the Christian Democrats would submit a bill on the introduction of free Sundays later today. Accordingly, shops occupying less than 400 square metres and family businesses would be exempt from the restrictions planned to come into force on March 15, 2015.
Asked about Economy Minister Mihaly Varga’s opposition to the idea, Harrach said, “his opinion is just one opinion” but the government had backed their motion.
Varga said earlier this week that it would be unwise to restrict Sunday shopping when a fifth of Hungarians do their weekly shopping precisely on that day. Varga added that there was no reason not to keep the shops open if employers can agree on terms with employees, he said.
The Hungarian Association of Shopping Centres (MBSZ) warned earlier that the proposal would have serious consequences. The leader of the Commercial Employee’s Trade Union, however, welcomed the bill. In view of the labour shortage hitting the sector, the restrictions would not bring about layoffs of retail workers, he said.
Zsolt Greczy, spokesman of the opposition Democratic Coalition, said the measure would lead to thousands of jobless as well as restricting a basic freedom of citizens.
The Hungarian Liberal Party (MLP) insisted the measure was designed to eliminate companies that compete with supermarket chains run by businessmen close to the government. Harrach should present the impact study underpinning the proposal, it added.
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