Norway’s parliament puts block on extended Sunday trading

The Norwegian parliament will vote for a proposal continuing restrictions against stores trading on Sundays.

Norway's parliament puts block on extended Sunday trading
File photo: Marianne Løvland / NTB scanpix

Opposition parties including the agrarian Centre Party, the Socialist Left and Labour, along with the Christian Democrats, propose keeping Sunday trade limits in place.

The proposal will be voted through by the parties on Wednesday, reports NRK.

“This will stop the government from wasting time on working on ideas for more Sunday trading. That's good,” Centre Party leader Trygve Slagsvold Vedum told the broadcaster.

“The Conservatives, Progress and Liberal parties [government coalition parties, ed.] again and again try to force people to work on Sundays. People want to take Sundays off,” Vedum continued.

The opposition plus the Christian Democrats will vote to continue Norway's public holiday protection law (helligdagsfredsloven), thereby limiting the number of people needed to work on Sundays.

“We want people to work as little as possible on Sundays,” Vedum said to NRK, adding that while he respected those working in the emergency services on Sundays, he was against more people working in shops on the traditional day of rest.

“Let Sunday be the exception, so people can go to the football, be with their families, go to church, or do nothing and just relax,” he said.

Norway's public holiday law currently means many retailers are required to remain closed on Sundays, as well as public holidays like the Christmas and Easter holidays.

Stores with an area of under 100 square metres, as well as petrol stations and florists, are allowed to open on Sundays.

The Conservative party's family and culture committee leader Tone Trøen criticised the lack of debate that had taken place before the vote on the proposal.

“This is a bit of a strange and unprofessional way to conduct opposition politics,” Trøen told NRK.

“Now a parliamentary majority is saying that they neither want to listen to parliamentary consultation nor assess proposals for Sunday trade. That is a shame,” she added.

The Erna Solberg-led government proposed in 2015 two possible models for shops opening on Sundays.

That proposal would have seen the decision on whether to open on Sundays decentralised either to local municipalities or to retailers themselves.

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