Scottish shopworkers now have the right to refuse to work on a Sunday following new legislation in the Sunday Working (Scotland) Act 2003.
As from April 6, employees became legally protected from being dismissed, selected for redundancy or caused to suffer any detriment if they choose not to work on Sundays.
Depending on the terms of their employment contract, some workers are automatically protected, while others will need to opt out and give three months notice. These rights are
irrespective of age or length of service and bring Scotland into line with law in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
The Act was introduced by a Private Member’s Bill from Labour MP for Greenock and Inverclyde, David Cairns. He acted after workers at Argos in Aberdeen were sacked in 2002 for refusing to work on Sundays.
The Scottish Grocers’ Federation chief executive Scott Landsburgh said he was not unduly concerned, as the legislation would have little impact. “I know of no employers that insist and enforce people to work on Sundays,” he said.
However he asked employee representatives and unions not to use the Act to persuade their members to think it was a hardship working on a Sunday.
Usdaw general secretary Sir Bill Connor said: “Usdaw is delighted that Scottish shopworkers will be given the protection they need. David Cairns is to be applauded for ensuring shopworkers get the right to make a choice on Sunday working.”