DISCUSSIONS on shop hours do not take into account the voice of consumers and only listen to shopkeepers and businesses, the Cyprus Consumers Association has said.
The association said that when shops were open on Sundays, consumers were far better served. “They could choose any day of the week from a broader selection of products, quality, prices and could decide themselves where they wanted to shop,” it said in a statement.
The association conceded that decrees issued by Labour minister Zeta Emilianidou to tourist areas – a privilege she was stripped of by parliament – had created some distortions.
“Consumers don’t want to be manipulated or taken advantage of on days when some shops are closed and when they don’t have the freedom to choose,” the association said.
As of now, there are no market regulations following a district court appeal filed by C.A. Papaellinas Ltd against a fine imposed by the government for opening its Alpha-Mega supermarkets on Sundays, issued last month. The Nicosia District court said the 2006 law was unconstitutional.
It called on the state to introduce regulations for shop hours as now “every shopkeeper or business owner chooses the schedule that suits them and not what serves consumers.”
Referring to complaints by small and medium businesses that liberal shop hours harm their work, the association said those shops had their own clients and were “not largely affected by the shop hours, but by other factors.”
“Shop hours cannot close small or medium businesses and cannot be used as a measure to protect them,” it added.
The association said some of those businesses even preferred being open on Sundays. It also called on owners shops which do stay open, not to exploit their employees.