• France's news in English
 
app_header_v3

'It's a day of rest': Unions blast Sunday shopping

Staff reporter · 20 Jun 2014, 13:23

Published: 20 Jun 2014 13:23 GMT+02:00

Trade unions have reacted angrily to a plan by French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius to open more stores in Paris on Sundays in busy tourist areas.

Fabius, who is also in charge of promoting tourism, wants the famous department stores like Galeries Lafayette and Printemps, which rake in millions of euros from foreign visitors, notably Chinese tourists, to be allowed to open on Sundays.

Unions however insist the move would have“no economic benefit”, and argue that Sunday is "still a day of rest”.

"Laurent Fabius doesn't know what he's talking about. All the studies show that opening on Sundays has no economic benefit and does not create jobs," Eric Scherrer from the union umbrella group CLIC-P, told The Local on Friday.

In fact Scherrer said it would make things worse.

"Opening the department stores on Sunday would harm the small independent stores in Paris. If you look at London there's no independent stores left. There's just chain stores now, " he said.

Scherrer added that tourists should simply find something else to do on Sundays in Paris. "There's plenty of other attractions for them to visit," he said.

SEE ALSO: 'This is not New York, This law is for France'

"France is already the most visited country in the world. Tourists come here for the culture not just for the commerce," he said.

Céline Carlen, from CLIC-P warned the government would face a fight if it tried to push through sunday openings.

“All unions for Galleries Lafayette are opposed, and they will have a lot of difficulty discussing it with us,” she told AFP.

Philippe Bellanger, a member of the CGT union, which represents Printemps, told AFP the plans were wrong because foreigners “don’t visit the store at night or on Sundays” and most residents are “absolutely against it”.

Various unions including the CGT are now calling on shop staff at Boulevard Haussman to strike on June 24th against a plan they say will “destroy their right to a life outside work”.

The anger was sparked after Fabius announced during a tourism conference in Paris this week the government's aim for more openings.

"A tourist who finds the shop closed on Sundays will not wait until Thursday," said Fabius, lining up for a war with France's trade unions.

"In consultation with relevant partners, stores in certain areas, which are classified as exceptionally affluent tourist areas, such as Boulevard Haussmann, should be allowed to open on Sundays,” he said.

Speaking at the close of the conference Fabius said the government had fixed a target of attracting 100 million foreign tourists annually compared to 83 million in 2012.

Story continues below…

"The logic is simple," said Fabius: "An unhappy tourist is a tourist that never comes back."

Commerce minister Fleur Pellerin stressedthe economic importance of tourism in France.

"is not an amusing or secondary matter... the stakes are the same as exports," she said.

Unions for the retail sector have long battled against extending opening hours late at night or on Sundays, which would bring France more into line with shopping culture in the US or the UK.

Last year they successfully forced cosmetics giant Sephora to close their Champs-Elysee store at 9pm.

Share your views on Sunday openings with our readers in the comments section below.

Staff reporter (news@thelocal.com)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Paris luxury hotel told to pay up after guest molests cleaner

A cleaner who was molested at a Paris luxury hotel by a Qatari guest has reportedly been awarded €57,000.

Frenchman leading Brexit negotiations starts new job
Photo: AFP

Frenchman Michel Barnier officially starts work as the European Commission's Brexit negotiator on Saturday in an appointment that British media called a "declaration of war".

VIDEO: Frenchman goes on iPhone-smashing rampage
Photo: YouTube Screenshot

Meet France's angriest Apple customer.

Nuit Blanche: Get set for an all-night party in Paris
Photo: La Nuit Blanche

Will YOU be heading down to the Seine on Saturday?

France told there's no more money for TGVs
High speed TGV trains parked in Lille. Photo: AFP

A report from the French senate has recommended that three planned high speed rail networks be scrapped.

Frenchman surfs again after shark bites off his leg
All photos: AFP

Meet the amputee Frenchman who is surfing again he was attacked by a shark.

Paris motorists to fund city's public transport system
Photo: AFP

Motorists in the Ile-de-France region will be hit by a tax rise in order to finance the city's trains and buses.

More French women becoming mothers after 40
French mums are getting older. File photo: Pexels

French mums are getting older, but the overall birthrate has fallen.

Paris police bust high-rolling gang of pram thieves
Photo: Joe Shlabotnik/Flickr

A gang of thieves has been caught after they pinched an estimated €100,000 worth of prams.

French banned from 'Mona Lisa smile' on photo IDs
You can forget a smile like this on your passport photo.

The French are going to have to remain grumpy-looking, at least on their passport photos.

Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
National
It's official: France finally gets its new map
National
VIDEOS: France's raunchiest TV commercials of all time
Sexism at the wheel: France wants more women drivers
Society
Lifestyle
VIDEO: Is life on a French café terrace really this bad?
Society
Only in France: 'Drive slowly - grape juice on the roads'
Society
Saudi princess 'told guard to kill Paris decorator'
Education
Why are foreign students in France 'Europe's unhappiest'?
Education
The troubles with French universities laid bare
Culture
The crazy French writing phrases you can't get your head around
Features
Room for improvement: Paris's matchbox apartments
'Stop telling immigrants to be French and help it happen'
Society
Take the test: How far have you assimilated into French culture?
Lifestyle
Eleven things you should know before moving to Paris
National
France's Marion Cotillard rebuffs rumours of fling with Brad Pitt
National
Eight arrested over links to Nice truck attacker
Features
Why everyone should party in a French chateau at least once
Travel
The Frenchman who hated 'Nazi-Zealand' after four-day hitch-hike fail
Culture
What's on: Ten exciting events across France in September
The 45-million year old underground shells that flavour Champagne
Features
French job speak: All the terms you need to know
'Resilient' Paris now a more appealing city than New York
National
France says it's OK to warn drivers about speed cameras
Meet Honorine, 113, the oldest person in France
2,736
jobs available