Family life would suffer if shops in Belfast could open all day on Sundays, the UK’s major shopworkers’ union has said.
Belfast City Council has been holding a consultation on allowing all-day opening on 18 days a year.
John Hannett, General Secretary of Usdaw, warned that workers would come under “additional pressure” to work on Sundays if shops are open longer.
Usdaw carried out a survey of over 600 of their members in Northern Ireland in November last year.
Almost two thirds of respondents said they have “already come under pressure to work on Sundays”.
Hannett said the “number one reason” for shopworkers’ opposition is “the detrimental effect this would have on their family life”.
“Sundays would lose a lot of what makes them special and we do not believe that Belfast City Council should pass their proposals,” he added.
Retail NI, which represents small traders, is also opposed to any changes and says it has “serious concerns” about liberalisation.
The consultation, which is set to close tomorrow, is examining a proposal to designate Belfast as a ‘holiday resort’ under Article 6 of Northern Ireland’s Shops Order 1997.
In March 2016, in a major victory for opponents of extended Sunday Trading, MPs voted 317 to 286 to defeat the UK Government’s controversial plans.
The vote saw off the Government’s second attempt in just a few months to pass proposals that could have seen Sunday Trading hours lengthened throughout England and Wales.