Jackie Baillie MSP is supporting retail trade union Usdaw in seeking the longest possible break over the Christmas and New Year period, to provide shopworkers with a well-deserved breather.

An Usdaw survey of over 12,000 shopworkers found that:

  • 97% think shops should be closed on Boxing Day.
  • 98% want stores to close early on Christmas Eve.
  • Only 4% of retail staff are happy to work on Boxing Day.

Commenting on the survey Jackie Baillie MSP said:

“The trend of more stores opening for longer over the festive period inevitably has a big impact on shopworkers’ Christmas Day celebrations. Finishing late on Christmas Eve and then getting straight back to work on Boxing Day means that Christmas Day is not a proper break.

“Staff in retail work very long hours in the run-up to Christmas and it can be really stressful. I know the issues of violence, threats and abuse also increase over the festive period. It’s only right that shop workers get the time off they need to recuperate as well as to spend time with their family over the festive period, especially when they have young children for whom Christmas is such a special time”.

Paddy Lillis – Usdaw General Secretary says:

“Usdaw welcomes retailers deciding not to open on Boxing Day and we urge others to follow suit. Retailers don’t need to open on Boxing Day and nobody needs to shop on Boxing Day, especially with the Christmas sales now happening throughout December.”


  1. Below is a copy of the motion which Jackie Baillie has lodged with the Scottish Parliament recognising the report and calling on other employers to follow Usdaw’s calls.

Motion Number: S5M-20263
Lodged By: Jackie Baillie
Date Lodged: 18/12/2019

Title: USDAW Boxing Day Survey 2019

Motion Text:

That the Parliament notes the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers’ (USDAW) recent survey of over 12,000 of its members in relation to Boxing Day trading; understands that the survey shows that 97% of its members oppose Boxing Day trading, with only 4% of retail staff happy to work that day; further understands that in the run up to Christmas, retail staff work long hours, and are often subject to violence, threats and abuse; believes that they often do not get the time they need to recuperate and spend time with their families over the festive season; welcomes the news that some retailers have already decided not to open on Boxing Day; urges others to back the USDAW campaign to ensure that shop workers get a decent break for Christmas, and looks forward to the Scottish Government running a consultation on New Year’s Day trading with retail staff, their employers and their trade unions.

  1. Christmas messages from shopworkers:These are some of the comments Usdaw members wrote when completing Usdaw’s Boxing Day survey:

“I haven’t enjoyed Christmas since starting to work in retail 11 years ago.”

“Absolutely shattered, then have to organise dinner, don’t need the stress, can’t  cope, no Christmas.”

The children are all excited, you get them ready Christmas Eve and then tell them you’re going to work. Heart breaking!”

I rely on public transport, which finishes at 8pm. I finish two hours later. Taxis are double fare and impossible to get.”

  1. Usdaw (Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers) is the UK’s fifth biggest and the fastest growing trade union with over 410,000 members. Membership has increased by more than one-third over the last couple of decades. Most Usdaw members work in the retail sector, but the union also has many members in transport, distribution, food manufacturing, chemicals and other trades.
  2. Festive working:Usdaw won the campaign for legislation to stop large stores opening on Christmas Day and we are calling for small stores to follow suit and stay shut. We are also calling for shops to be closed on Boxing Day and New Year’s Day; as well as closing by 4pm on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve.
  3. Usdaw’s Boxing Day Survey: 12,036 Usdaw members, from across the UK, responded to an online Usdaw survey after Boxing Day 2018. 85% worked in retail stores, 7% in retail distribution and 7% in other workplaces. 41% had worked on Boxing Day 2018, 39% in 2017 and 55% in previous years.
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