Around 20 people, according to estimates by the Brussels-Capital/Ixelles police zone, gathered on Sunday around noon in front of the Brussels Stock Exchange to demonstrate against the opening of shops on Sunday in the context of international women’s day.
“Shops are already open on Saturdays and this hinders the private lives of thousands of workers, especially women, who rarely have the right to enjoy a weekend,” said the Centrale nationale des employés (CNE), the organiser of the demonstration.
“We denounce, in the framework of the International Day of Struggle for Women’s Rights, the shops that open on Sundays, given that 67% of the sales staff are women and that, among them, a number of them are single parents,” said the CNE.
“The majority of employees who work on Sundays do not do so by choice but under duress. In many cases, their work contract mentions this. In others, they don’t dare refuse because they have a precarious contract that they hope to see renewed. Moreover, they do not generally receive extra pay,” the union added.
“Sunday work doesn’t even create jobs. On the other hand, it does allow workers to extend their working hours for the benefit of the shareholders of big companies,” he said.
The demonstrators then moved on to shops in the centre of Brussels to make shopkeepers and customers aware of the consequences of opening shops on the last day of the week.