Pressure mounts for supermarkets to close on Boxing Day

Pressure mounts for supermarkets to close on Boxing Day

Pressure mounts for supermarkets to close on Boxing Day

Pressure is mounting on major retailers to close on Boxing Day as a reward to staff who have worked throughout the Covid-19 crisis.

Supermarket chain Asda has already made the announcement it has decided to shut its doors on December 26 – a day that is usually busy for shoppers following Christmas Day.

Asda said that all of its 631 shops would close for two days over the Christmas break and that frontline staff will also get 100% of their bonus entitlement regardless of whether they have reached sales quotas.

Staff who were due to work on Saturday, December 26 will still be paid for the shift.

It joins Marks and Spencer, Aldi, Pets at Home, Poundland, Wickes and toy store The Entertainer in closing.

Unions have been calling on all major supermarkets to give all staff Boxing Day off, however some have still to announce their Christmas opening hours.

Supermarkets have seen huge demand during the pandemic and stayed open during lockdowns.

Asda chief executive Roger Burnley said in a message to staff: “This has been a challenging year and you have all done an incredible job, continuing to serve our customers and communities while juggling so many other commitments.

“But it’s also been challenging from a personal perspective as we have not been able to spend time with our families and friends, which has been hard for us all.

“This is of course our busiest time of year but it was important for us to give as many of you as possible the opportunity to spend this time with those loved ones that you may not have not seen for many months so, uniquely for this year, we will not reopen our stores until 27 December.”

Roger Jenkins, GMB National Officer, told the BBC: “It’s a shame this is not extra holiday – workers will have to book a day of their annual leave entitlement.

“But it’s a step in the right direction and GMB now calls on the rest of the retail sector to follow suit and repay these key workers with a chance to spend Boxing Day with their loved ones.”

John Lewis and Waitrose are normally shut on Boxing Day, and will remain so this year.

Photo: Markus Spiske

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