At the weekend, after a media report, confusion arose as to whether one would actually return to the usual opening times after the exit restrictions had ended.
Due to the corona pandemic, the food trade has only been allowed to open until 7 p.m. At the weekend, after a media report, confusion arose as to whether one would actually return to the usual opening times after the exit restrictions had ended, because statements by a trade unionist had indicated resistance from the employee representatives. But now the GPA rowed back.
“ The union only wants to see the opening times implemented until 7 p.m. as long as exit restrictions apply,” a spokesman for the GPA made clear on Sunday. “ The reafter, there will be no more reduced opening times.” The union representative spoke of a “misunderstanding”.
The social partners have negotiated the current 7 p.m. rule in retail because of the coronavirus pandemic. Both commercial employees and customers should come home in good time before the exit restriction at 8 p.m.
“Many people in Austria are in the home office, so they can structure their day differently,” Anita Palkovich from the GPA union argued with ORF Vienna on Saturday. “From that point of view I don’t really see a problem that it works.” If the store was only opened for eleven hours, the advantages for trade employees would outweigh the argument that if the store was opened for twelve hours, everyone could meet their shopping needs. “I just don’t let the argument count,” said Palkovich.
Criticism of union
The union was immediately criticized by the Chamber of Commerce and the trade association. “As soon as the exit restrictions are lifted between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m., there must also be a return to normal opening times,” said WKÖ trade chairman Rainer Trefelik in a broadcast. “It’s a communicative misunderstanding when union representatives see things differently.” And: “In the home office you work and not shop during working hours.”
Of course, the supermarkets would like to have their old opening times again, as there was some resistance to the mandatory shortening. Rewe (Billa, Penny et al.) Argues that the shorter opening times at peak times lead to other professional groups after hours. Spar (Spar, Interspar, Eurospar) – the company was rather critical at the beginning of the shorter opening times – would “also not say no” to longer opening times during the exit restrictions, the ORF Vienna quoted a spokeswoman as saying.
“A return to normal opening times would be a step towards normality for the population and would also straighten out customer flows. That would be helpful in terms of reducing contacts,” said the Spar press office. “It should be noted that due to the shortened opening times to 7 pm, working customers have limited shopping opportunities after the end of the day, which means that peak times can increase,” said Rewe. This is also the argument of the trade association.