By George Psyllides
MAIN opposition AKEL will seek to pass legislation regulating shop opening hours because they say the current hours only serve a few big businesses.
AKEL oppose the government decision to extend shop hours across the island (previously reserved for tourist areas only) to include Wednesday afternoons and Sundays.
The government introduced the measure in July 2013 in a bid to boost the economy.
“Not only it has failed, but it has also caused huge problems to small and medium shop owners,” AKEL leader Andros Kyprianou said.
He was speaking after a meeting with small shop owners association POVEK.
As an example of the failure, Kyprianou cited the closure of “607 convenience stores and over 150 bakeries” which saw 2,700 people lose their job.
“And all this to serve a small number of large enterprises,” he said.
Kyprianou said his party disagreed with the government’s argument that unemployment could be tackled in this way.
He said his party was determined to deal with the matter decisively and planned to submit a bill to that end.
“We think that shops should not open on Sunday. I am not referring to tourist areas, but the whole of Cyprus cannot be considered a tourist area,” he said.
The retailers association on the other hand hailed the measure as a success, which did not only boost the market but also provided employment to around 6,000.
The association includes supermarkets, fruit markets and small businesses.