Retail: Minister for small- and medium-size business Françoise Hetto-Gaasch has announced a compromise decision in the dispute between retailers and unions about working hours.
As of July, shops in Luxembourg will not be allowed to remain open beyond 7 p.m. on Saturdays. The decision was announced by Françoise Hetto-Gaasch on Tuesday after discussions with both sides failed to end in an agreement. The unions had said they would agree to longer opening times if staff received supplementary pay of 50 percent for working between 6 and 8 p.m. The CLC retail and trades federation had wanted a complete liberalisation of opening hours, and were supported by the Union Commerciale de la Ville de Luxembourg (UCVL), which represents retailers in the capital city.
The new ruling, if it comes into effect, will allows shops to remain open until 8 p.m. on weekdays, with extended opening hours until 9 p.m. on one day of the shop’s choice. Corrine Cahen of the UCVL told RTL radio that her association was not pleased with the decision. “Retail trade creates many, many jobs throughout the country. That is often forgotten because each individual shop does maybe not employ that many people. If we want to increase productivity and create even more jobs, then extended opening hours is one way to do that--especially for the larger retailers.”
Hetto-Gaasch said that the problem with the retail sector is its diversity--from small family businesses to large international chains--which makes it difficult for the employment ministry to create a general ruling on working hours that applies to all retail staff.