Budapest (MTI) – Consultations concerning the proposal of the allied ruling Christian Democrats to keep major stores closed on Sunday are still under way, the prime minister’s press chief said on Friday.

A decision will be made once the opinion of all sides affected has been gauged and any enactment of relevant legislation may follow afterwards, Bertalan Havasi told MTI after an enquiry concerning a statement by Christian Democrat group leader Peter Harrach that Prime Minister Viktor Orban supported the proposal. Harrach announced at a press conference on Thursday that the government had discussed and supported KDNP’s initiative.

The Economy Ministry told MTI on Thursday evening in response that the government had discussed a proposal to restrict shop openings on Sundays but had not made a decision.

A decision on will only be made after consultations are concluded with trade unions and companies operating the shops, it said.

Mihaly Varga, the economy minister, 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.

If lawmakers approve the Christian Democrat party’s initiative then the leftist opposition Democratic Coalition will propose to civil organisations forcing a popular vote on changing the contents of the law. Laszlo Varju told a news conference that DK would work to ensure the legal basis for holding such a referendum but it would also rely on the help of civil groups to collect the necessary signatures.

The trade union association LIGA said it was not supporting a ban on Sunday shopping but proposes increased salary and stricter regulations for Sunday working hours. LIGA said in a statement that the ban would result in a drastic drop in shop revenues and overcrowding on Saturdays. Additionally, its introduction would cause lay-offs and loss of income for the staff. At the same time, LIGA said employees should be given the right to refuse working on Sundays.

Photo: Daily News Hungary


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