Clause 1 - Sunday working: shop andbetting workers in Scotland

Part of Sunday Working (Scotland) Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 9:45 am on 26th March 2003.

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Photo of Mr Malcolm Savidge Mr Malcolm Savidge Labour, Aberdeen North 9:45 am, 26th March 2003

I congratulate my hon. Friend on the Bill and I am pleased that there is a strong degree of unity on the issue. We have the support of all parties in the House, as was illustrated in an early-day motion last year, which was rapidly signed by more than 200 Members from across the political spectrum. I am grateful that there is interest from hon. Members throughout the UK, not only Scottish Members. There is a feeling that this is a matter of protecting workers' rights.

I am pleased that the consultation received such a positive response. As well as the trade unions, there is support from the Scottish Retail Consortium, CBI Scotland and the Road Haulage Association, which is welcome. As hon. Members have said, good employers support the legislation. It is disappointing that one company is causing problems. I believe that it is still putting pressure on some of its workers, which is disappointing given the amount of effort put in, especially by the Scotland Office. I pay tribute to the

Secretary of State for Scotland and Scottish Ministers for their support.

To correct a point made earlier, Aberdeen was not the only part of Scotland affected. Religious problems were not people's primary concern; most cited family and social reasons. Credit should be given to the various religious organisations involved that said that they did not only want to protect people's religious rights—although those are of primary importance in some areas of Scotland such as the Western Isles. This is a matter of protecting people's general rights because there are many people for whom Sunday is a day when they can get together with their partner or family. There are those sorts of concerns, as well.

I congratulate my hon. Friend the Member for Greenock and Inverclyde on the Bill. I welcome the support that it has received and hope that it will shortly become law.