Previously, Sunday opening was only permitted six times a year. However, now shops are allowed to open every Sunday of the year if they so wish.
However, the chain stores on Brussels busiest shopping street Nieuwstraat have decided to open only on the first Sunday of the month for the time being. Most stores reported a busy day’s trading.
Not all shops open
Action by the trade unions succeeded in ensuring that at least six shops, including the clothing chains Zara and H&M remained closed.
Around a hundred trades unions, mainly from the Christian trades union LBC-NVK had a rally on the Brusselse Muntplein.
The unions fear that the bonuses shop workers receive for working on Sundays could come under threat as a result of shops being allowed to open more often on Sundays.
The unions also believe that Sunday trading won’t lead to increased turnover and more jobs in retail. Furthermore, the unions say that Sunday trading undermines family life.