Hungarian shop workers ask for Sunday closing

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2 Min Read

Hungarian commercial workers have asked the government to re-introduce a short-lived Sunday shop holiday because of the chronic workforce shortage.

In a letter sent to Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, the Independent Union of Commerce Workers (KDFSZ) asked for the re-introduction of a short-lived Sunday closing time to alleviate a workforce shortage and prop up family values, Magyar Idők reported.

“The summer season and the pre-school shopping rush made it clear that there is a critical manual labour shortage,” said KDFSZ president Csaba Bubenkó

He said the sector needed an additional 10,000 workers to maintain service levels in line with the increase in customer numbers and to ensure safe working conditions.

Hungary introduced Sunday closings in March 2015 in a bill put forward by the smaller coalition partner Christian Democrats. The move proved unpopular and after the Supreme Court gave a green light to an opposition referendum on the issue, the government rescinded the measure in April 2016.

Falling unemployment levels and an ensuing workforce shortage have already prompted major retail chains to increase wages by HUF 50,000 in the past two years, but that still isn’t enough: the sector is still struggling to maintain service levels amid a high fluctuation rate and many had to introduce compulsory overtime.

Bubenkó said several industry meetings in the past few months suggested that in the current climate when consumer spending has been rising almost uninterrupted for the past five years, the general opinion was that Sunday closing would have little impact on shop revenues but would both alleviate the workforce shortage and create better working conditions.

He said KDFSZ sent the letter to PM Orbán on Monday.


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