Budapest, March 21 (MTI) – The opposition Socialists on Saturday said they would again allow stores to remain open on Sundays if they return to government, while the Democratic Coalition said the restrictions on opening times are bad for employees, customers and shop owners.
A new law requires most big retailers to close on Sundays but exempts family-run shops under 200 square metres from the restriction.
Jozsef Tobias, the leader of the Socialist party and its parliamentary group, told a press conference that if the Socialists win power in 2018, they will scrap the law and reopen shops on Sunday.
The Sunday closure rule is neither an ideological nor an economic issue, what the government has done is that it has defined how the citizens of a free country must organise their daily life, he said.
The Socialists on Saturday held protests against the rule in some 100 localities, he added.
Laszlo Varju, the deputy leader of leftist DK, told a press conference that the government does not allow Hungarian people the freedom to do what they want.
“And the dishonourable thing in this whole matter is that the cabinet knew exactly the consequences,” making reference to press reports on an alleged impact study commissioned by the economy ministry, he said.
Tens of thousands are losing their jobs and the rest of employees need to work more during the week while they earn less, he said, adding that the new law serves only to divert attention from contested issues.
Ruling Fidesz in response said that the government’s aim has been to give an advantage to smaller retailers over multinational chains.
The new legislation guarantees more rest days to retail employees and extra payment if they work on Sundays, the party said in a statement.