More than 9 in 10 workers oppose Belfast Sunday trading

Over 90 per cent of Belfast shopworkers are opposed to extending Sunday trading hours, a new survey has revealed.

The poll was conducted by the trade union Usdaw, who said that allowing shops to open for longer would have a “negative impact” on workers, families and communities.

Attempts to liberalise the law on Sunday trading in 2017 and 2018 were both rejected


Usdaw found that 92 per cent of its members say Sunday trading should not be extended, with more than two-thirds saying they had already been pressured to work on a Sunday.

A majority of respondents felt that working on Sundays would mean less time spent with family and friends.

Paddy Lillis, Usdaw General Secretary, said the Union was firmly against extending Sunday trading hours.

An official consultation on the issue has recently closed.

Negative impact

The union boss said: “Allowing large stores to open for longer hours on Sundays would have a negative impact on retail workers, their families and our communities.

“Longer Sunday trading would take a heavy toll on staff who would come under even more pressure to work, when they would rather be spending time with family and engaging in community, sports, and leisure activities or attending church.”

He added that those in favour of the plans “have not been able to show it will lead to economic benefits or job creation”.


Belfast City Council has previously heeded concerns about family life, with councillors twice rejecting attempts to liberalise Sunday trading in recent years.

In 2018 a proposal to designate Belfast as a ‘holiday resort’ was rejected by the Strategic Policy and Resources Committee by 16 votes to four.