An online government petition calling for retail stores to be closed on Boxing Day is to be debated in parliament today after crossing the 100,000 signature threshold needed to trigger a parliamentary debate.
The official petition follows an unofficial one last month of Change.org which received over 200,000 signatures. The creator of the official petition, Jack Johnson wrote, ‘Christmas is a family time, the one day is not enough time to see two sides of families, retail workers work extremely hard during the Christmas run up and only get the one day. If only everywhere could be closed boxing day! Some things are needed over the festive period, retail isn't one of them.’
However, the Conservatives rejected the proposal stating, ‘Billions of pounds are spent by millions of shoppers on Boxing Day and it is also a busy day for internet sales. The Government believes that all businesses should be allowed flexibility to meet their customers’ needs and offer consumers choice about when and how they want to shop.’
A new survey of 4,000 retail staff by the shop workers union USDAW has shown that 93% of staff do not want to work on Boxing day, compared to 1.5% who said they would like to. The same survey showed that 40% of retail staff will be working Boxing Day, and a quarter of these worked the same bank holiday last year.
Retail worker and petition signee Deborah Curtis wrote, ‘I have worked in retail positions for many years. It's disheartening to work so hard in the run up to Christmas to be rewarded with just one day off to spend with my family. I'm qualified to do other employment but it is hard to find where I live. I deserve to spend quality time with my family too.’
According to the Centre for Retail Research, Boxing Day sales in 2015 resulted in £3.74 billion in revenue.
Mobile approached Carphone Warehouse, EE, O2, Tesco Mobile, Three and Vodafone for comment but all are yet to respond.