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Some Fight For Sunday Business Hours In France Despite Law

Story By: Larry Stine

 

 

 
 
 
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  Original Published: 10/19/2013 To be open or closed for business on Sunday, that's the question in France. CNN's Jim Bitterman has the story. Ah, Sunday in France, a day of restm to take a deep breath after the rigors of the previous week, and to mentally prepare for that 35-hour work week ahead. A day to be with the family or work on personal development. But a day to shop? The government here is trying to figure out what to do after a court ruling which orders some home improvement stores to shut down on Sunday, in compliance with a work law drawn up a centry ago. The problem is that according to one survey, four out of five French favor the stores being open, store owners say Sunday opening boosts the economy. "Stores need to be open Sundays," says Dominque Gerald, a Sunday shopper. "People who work all week long, they run all week. I go, no, no I prefer that stores be open on Sunday, definitely." What's more, employees, who often are paid extra for Sunday work, would agree with Mourad Tarb, that it is a way to make ends meet. "Money talks," says Tarb. "When you pay, when you work on Sunday, you get about 150 percent of your salary. So it's more interesting for us to work on Sundays. But unfortunately, it's quite difficult to get all the Sundays because there's too many people who want to work Sundays." Tarb and others, who want to work Sundays, are part of a protest movement trying to get the government to leave the stores alone. They say it would be ridiculous to do otherwise with high unemployment and an uncertain economy. Nonetheless, the government is now imposing fines on the stores that stay open in defiance of the law. "Opposing Sundy opening hours is an unlifely coalition on the ends of the political specgtrum," says CNN Senior Correspondent Jim Bittermann. "Neither conservative Catholics nor lefitst politicians and unionists think people should work on Sunday." A spokeswoman for the radical Left Front Party says workers need to be protected. "I think everyone wants the rule to be that on Sunday you rest," says RaquelGarrido. "Um, the government obviously needs to put its hands in the, in the, in the theme because it's about working rights. If not, you will have, everything will be open and we will just have the American way of life. I think that's sad." For the moment, the government has dodged a bullet by naming the former head of the French Post Office to study the question of Sunday opening hours. His report is due in November. Meanwhile, the stores that stay open in defiance of the court ruling are paying hefty fines each weekend they do so, leaving the Frencgh to comtemplate whether that American way of life would ever be at home here.
   
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