By Bill Heaney

The GMB trade union has won a day off on Boxing Day for all Asda supermarket workers.

However, Asda has said that workers will lose a day of annual leave as a result, so shop workers are campaigning for a proper extra day off on New Year’s Day, Labour MSP Neil Bibby told the Scottish Parliament.

He added: ” In Scotland, we already have the power to give all supermarket workers a day with their families by closing large shops using the Christmas Day and New Year’s Day Trading (Scotland) Act 2007, which is a power that the First Minister supported.

“I am sure that the First Minister will agree that supermarket workers have been the heroes throughout the pandemic and that there is no doubt that they deserve a day off with their families. If we do not use the power this year, I am not sure that we ever will. Time is short, but there is time to do it.

“Will the First Minister agree to meet me and to consider using the Scottish Government’s power under the 2007 Act to give those workers a well-deserved day off on 1 January?”

Nicola Sturgeon told parliament: “I will undertake to look into that and arrange for the relevant Minister—if not me—to have discussions with Neil Bibby.

“As I have not yet had the opportunity to look at the specific request, I will not give a guarantee or assurance, other than to say that I will look at it.

“However, I very much agree that supermarket workers have been heroic in the course of the pandemic. It has not been easy for them, and they deserve our thanks, gratitude and appreciation.

“I believe that, like everybody else who has worked hard throughout the pandemic, they deserve rest and recuperation, and they deserve to be treated fairly by their employers. I will always urge employers to do that. Those are my comments in general, but I am happy to give further consideration to the specific request.”

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