Members of retail trade union Usdaw are meeting with MPs today to discuss the impact of proposals to relax Sunday trading regulations.
Usdaw says 90% of its members oppose any extension to Sunday trading hours. A group of 45 shop workers are heading to Westminster to outline their personal concerns.
The government wants to give local authorities the power to allow certain areas to trade for longer, allowing them to boost trade in town centres or high streets.
A consultation on the proposals closed on September 16, but the responses have yet to be published despite some speculation they would be released today.
Usdaw general secretary John Hannett said: “Devolving Sunday trading is deregulation by the back door and will create chaos in the retail sector as every area adopts their own regime.
“It doesn’t provide local authorities with proper powers to influence their retail economy, just a huge headache as a few retailers badger them to allow longer opening.
“For this reason we believe many retailers and local authorities have responded negatively to the consultation, or at least said that these proposals are not what they are looking for from government.”
There was a mixed response from retailers when the proposals were announced. The British Independent Retailers Association warned of the additional people costs for smaller businesses, while multiples including House of Fraser, Next and Marks & Spencer were among those in favour of the extension, as it would give them more flexibility to meet customers’ needs.
It has been rumoured that new Sunday trading legislation could be introduced into the Cities and Local Government Devolution Bill, which has its second reading in the House of Commons today.
However, any such amendment would arrive at report stage rather than during a second reading debate.
The Department for Communities and Local Government and for Business, Innovation & Skills have not responded to requests for a comment.