Lithuanian retailers, trade unions tentatively agree to days off on Christmas, Easter

Retailers and trade unions tentatively agree to large retail chains being closed on two days a year, on Christmas Day and Easter Sunday, but there are no discussions about not working on other Sundays, Social Security and Labor Minister Linas Kukuraitis said on Monday.

"As to closing on Christmas and Easter days, retail chains say that they accept this proposal and invite trade unions to agree on this through a collective agreement," the minister told reporters after a meeting with representatives of retailers and trade unions.

"Sundays remain an open issue, at least for now," he added. "The ministry supports a social dialog. We call for starting from minimum and then increasing the number of closing days, both on other holidays and on Sundays."

Laurynas Vilimas, head of the Association of Lithuanian Trade Companies, told reporters that the agreement should cover all retailers, not only large chains.

He added that the association's members agree in principle to the proposal to keep stores closed for two days a year, but they do not want that list to be expanded in the future.

Meanwhile, Aleksandras Posochovas, head of the Lithuanian Service Workers Trade Union, said that retail chains should be closed on all holidays.

"We want all holidays and at least one Sunday in a month," he told reporters.

The Seimas in late June started debates on an amendment to the Labor Code that calls for closing retail stores on holidays and on the last Sunday of each month starting next year.

Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis said last week that there were plans to reduce the impact of major retail chains on the market and possibly restrict their opening hours on weekends in an effort to boost competition and curb the rise in prices for products and services.

All Norfa and Lidl stores in Lithuania were closed on this year's Easter Sunday. Maxima closed some of its stores and reduced the opening hours of others. Rimi and Iki stores operated as usual. All Lidl stores were closed on last Christmas Day and on the New Year's Day, and Maxima stores were either closed or opened for fewer hours than usual.

Source: BNS
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