Lidl to Close Shops During Three Days of Christmas Holidays

Total Croatia News

What will the competition do?

Ahead of the Christmas holidays, which are expected to be marked by a record-breaking 12.5 billion kuna in consumer spending, the Retail Train Union has issued a call to the employers about the opening hours of their shops, reports Večernji List on December 17, 2017.

“We expect employers to demonstrate social responsibility for their employees and enable them, in accordance with the law, to have days off on 25 and 26 December 2017, and on 1 and 6 January 2018. We invite all employers who are members of the Croatian Employers’ Association, the Croatian Chamber of Commerce and the Croatian Chamber of Crafts and Trades to have their shops open on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve until 13:00, and not to open them on the holidays,” said Dragica Štulić, the president of the trade union.

The trade union has the support of the Catholic Church, specifically the Franciscan Institute for Culture of Peace, which is expected to launch a campaign in early 2018 to change the legal framework for work on Sundays. They advocate for a solution that would allow freedom of choice when it comes to working on Sundays. “In that case, such work should be paid twice than the regular one”, said a representative of the Institute.

Although the topic of whether Sundays and holidays should be workdays or not has been discussed by members of the Croatian Chamber of Commerce, it is hard to expect any significant changes for the coming holidays, especially not with Croats using as many as 30 credit cards a second and buying presents at the last minute.

Christmas Eve is one of the strongest retail days of the year, and it is hard to expect that other companies will follow the example of Lidl. Earlier this year, that was the only major retailer which allowed its employees two days off for Easter holidays. And now, Lidl’s more than 2,000 employees will not work three full days for Christmas holidays.

“We will close all of our stores on Christmas Eve as well. For the first time ever, all 92 Lidl stores will not be open for three days in a row – on Christmas Eve, Christmas and St. Stephen’s Day. Lidl has made this decision to allow the employees to spend the Christmas holidays with their families,” announced the company, adding that they wanted to express their gratitude with this simple gesture. The stores will also not be opened on the New Year’s Day, which is a common practice of other retailers as well. On New Year’s Eve and Epiphany (6 January), they will close early.

Lidl’s sister company Kaufland announced they would not open their stores on Christmas Day and St. Stephen’s Day, while on Christmas Eve they will close at 4 pm. Other major retailers have not yet disclosed their plans, saying they were “waiting for a decision by the management.”

Member of European Parliament Marijana Petir, who advocates for non-working Sundays and holidays at the EU level, said that every move towards that goal was positive. She added she did not know the business policy of Lidl, but it seems that the retail chains have realised they are getting more positive customer reactions if they behave with due respect to their employees and allow them free time to spend with their families.

Translated from Večernji List.


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