Bid for 24-hours shopping in Germany fails

9th June 2004, Comments 0 comments

9 June 2004 , BERLIN – Germany's highest court Wednesday rejected a bid to introduce 24-hour shopping in Europe's biggest economy.

9 June 2004

BERLIN – Germany's highest court Wednesday rejected a bid to introduce 24-hour shopping in Europe's biggest economy.

The Federal Constitutional Court ruled that Germany's retail trading laws that require shops to close by 20.00 Monday to Saturday do not violate the constitution. Shops in petrol stations, train stations and in tourist and recreation areas are allowed to open longer.

"The fundamental prohibition against opening shops on Sundays and holidays is compatible with the Basic Law,'" the court said.

"The rules on shop closing times on Saturdays also do not violate the Basic Law." Employees have the constitutional right not to work on Sundays and holidays, it said.

The case followed a complaint by retail giant Metro's Kaufhof offshoot that the shop trading laws as they existed now were not fair.

With changes to the restrictions on shop hours often seen as a test of Germany's ability to press on with economic reform and to underpin the nation's service sector, the court's decision follows moves by the country's economics and labour minister, Wolfgang Clement to push through parliament a law that would abandon the retail trading laws.

Clement sees removing the law as helping to boost consumer spending in the country, which is acting as a drag on the economic recovery currently underway in the nation.

Moreover with unemployment in the nation stuck at 10.5 percent and less jobs emerging in manufacturing industry, many economists seeing freeing up the retail trading laws as a way of helping to encourage the growth of the nation's service sector.

But in handing down their judgement the judges said that that the shop closing law, did not breach the constitution as it did violate the principle of equality and did infringe on the ability of companies to operate.

However the court did say that Germany's 16 states could change shop opening hours in agreement with the federal government.

[Copyright Expatica News 2004]

Subject German news

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