Should Czech stores close at Christmas?
A battle over opening hours at Czech stores during the holidays has continued for several years and once again the question of whether stores should close or remain open at Yuletide is being hotly debated. Some Czech union representatives want to see hours curbed so that cashiers or shop assistants can spend more time with their loved ones; critics say the matter should be left up to employers.
“All of our neighbours have similar legislation governing opening times at Christmas and – as a developed country - I think we should be part of it. Countries like Austria and Germany set aside time during the holidays, it is a part of their cultural tradition, and I think we should do the same.”
“I think a consumer has only one wallet and can spend only what he or she have inside.”
Not all trade or business representatives are necessarily against shops closing over Christmas; what they dislike are blanket solutions. In their view, the decision should not be enforced by law, but should be left up to individual employers. In other words, the market should decide; Zdeněk Juračka is the president of the Confederation of Czech Commerce and Tourism:
“I agree that the businesses won’t take much of a hit if they remain closed. But what is at stake here is the quality of services. We are not saying stores have to stay open, but we think that the decision should be up to individual shop owners, based on consumer demand, the economic situation and types of services. In the Czech Republic, we found that many people do make use of holidays and weekends to shop, rather than work hours. Why should we ruin things for them?”