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Thursday, November 14, 2013

Bishop Seraphim of Piraeus - the Sunday shopping rules cause for war—for the church

   

 It has been called a sin by the church, a human rights violation by unions and "totally nonsensical" by shop owners themselves.


Now, to show they mean business, this unlikely triumverate has pledged to put thousands of people on to the streets as opposition mounts in Greece to government efforts to further liberalise the market by allowing shops to open on Sundays.

"This is a casus belli for the Orthodox Church of Greece," said Bishop Seraphim of Pireaus. "Any MPs who support this will … have stepped on the law of God."

Under pressure from international creditors propping up the debt-crippled country, prime minister Antonis Samaras's ruling coalition has drafted legislation lifting the ban on Sunday shopping – to date perhaps the clearest sign of one of Europe's most closed economies.

Small shop owners – until the crisis, the lifeblood of the Greek economy and an important interest group – insist that liberalisation will only favour bigger stores at a time when few can afford to hire extra personnel. More than a third of store staff have not been paid in months, according to the association of private employees, citing the country's sixth straight year of recession and chronic lack of liquidity.
"Keeping shops open 52 Sundays a year makes no sense at all," said Kostas Hanzarides, head of the trade association of Thessaloniki, which has called for mass demonstrations on Tuesday.

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