Sunday trading ban for DIY stores

France’s highest administrative court suspends a temporary decree that allowed stores to open seven days a week

13 February 2014

DIY STORES across France will not be allowed to open on Sundays, after the Conseil d’Etat suspended a government decree following a complaint from trade unions.

The country’s highest administrative court yesterday said “there was serious doubt on the legality” of the decree of December 30 that allowed the stores to be exempt from the rule of Sunday rest.

The temporary decree, published while the government works on changes to the complex legislation relating to weekly working hours, gave Sunday opening rights to the likes of Darty, Bricorama and Mr Bricolage until July 1, 2015.

The judgement went on to say that Sunday opening went against “the principles of a weekly day of rest that is guaranteed in the constitutional rights of employees” and that this right is “exercised in principle on Sundays”.

Unions have welcomed the Conseil d’Etat’s ruling.

Secretary General of the CGT in Paris Karl Ghazi hailed the ruling as “very important”.

He said: "It is difficult to say how we would close shops on Sundays after they have been trading for a year and a half.”

The “temporary” nature of the decree appears to be the key stumbling block.

The judgement said that an “exceptional and legitimate need” had to be proved to suspend the right of employees to a Sunday rest-day.

If, it went on, the needs of DIYers was “exceptional and legitimate”, then they must also be permanent, not temporary.

In a statement, the ministry of employment said that the Conseil d’Etat’s suspension did not call into question the principle of the Sunday trading exemption, and added that a new permanent decree will be published as soon as possible.

In an interview with Europe1, Prime Minister Jean- Marc Ayrault added: “In a few days the new decree will be published… and the matter will be resolved.”

Photo: Jean-Louis Zimmermannonly

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