Gordon is backing Blackpool shop workers, opposing the Government changes to Sunday trading laws, which will lead to even more retail staff being pressured to work longer hours on that day.
The Blackpool South MP, who has always championed the need to support local shops and businesses across the whole town, attended an Usdaw lobby of Parliament to oppose the Government’s proposal to allow big shops and stores to open far longer on a Sunday if they press their local councils to allow it.
The plans that will lead to the extension of Sunday trading hours is one that 90% of shop workers oppose and Gordon fears could have a negative impact on Blackpool both economically and also the social fabric of the town.
He said: “From previous campaigns where I have worked with USDAW members in Blackpool particularly on keeping Christmas Day special I know how important work life balance is for hundreds of shop workers across the town for them and their families.
“Many people in Blackpool, especially women, have to do enough juggling with hours or part- time jobs to make ends meet and see their families and relatives. They don t need this Government and in particular George Osborne making their life even more difficult by putting them in a situation where they could be pressured into working long hours on a Sunday as well.
“The Sunday Trading Act is a law which has worked well for over 20 years and gives everyone a little bit of what they want. From speaking to different groups of people across Blackpool, they remain in favour of the current laws. Retailers can trade, customers can shop, staff can work; whilst Sunday remains a special day, different to other days, and shopworkers can spend some time with their family.
“Extending Sunday trading does also not mean customers have more money to spend, it would not create jobs and is likely to lead to the closure of smaller stores, so this is not a way to boost the local economy or help town centres.
“It would be detrimental to shopworkers and their families, as well as wider society, so I am pleased to be supporting Usdaw’s campaign.”
John Hannett, Usdaw General Secretary added: “Usdaw and our members are delighted to have the support of Gordon and many others who value the special nature of Sunday and want to protect it. There is no great desire from shopworkers, customers, retailers or local authorities for these changes and many oppose them. We fear that devolution of Sunday trading is a solution looking for a problem.
“It is not yet clear whether the Government will seek to introduce legislation, but if they do I hope that they will abide by their promise of a proper consultation and a full parliamentary process. That would mean publication of the consultation responses and a considered reply from the Government, demonstrating that they have listened, before the introduction of any legislation to change Sunday trading.”