Have a look at the Xmas opening times for Lakeside: Lakeside Shopping Centre has revealed its Christmas opening hours. https://www.essexlive.news/whats-on/shopping/lakeside-shopping-centre-revealed-christmas-2273451 Retail workers get one day off over the festive period and that’s Xmas Day itself. The centre shuts at 7pm on Xmas Eve and re-opens at 9am on Boxing Day. The workers in the shops will have to stay later and get in earlier than these times to prepare the shops for opening. That could well mean a 7am start for some workers. If workers are rostered to work on Xmas Eve and Boxing Day, Xmas Day itself is going to be little more than resting up recovering from a late finish the previous day and getting as ready as possible for the onslaught the next day.

Not everyone who works at Lakeside has access to a car. A fair number of younger workers, particularly the part time ones rely on public transport to get to and from the centre. C2c don’t run a train service on Boxing Day. Ensign Bus are running a special X10 service https://www.c2c-online.co.uk/our-network/timetables-and-service-alterations/ on the day but a bus has significantly less carrying capacity than a train so we’re not sure how that’s going to work!

So, a fair number of carless shop workers may well have to rely on advance booking a taxi to get into work at some unearthly hour on Boxing Day…and to get home again! It would be nice to think that the shops would cover the travel costs of these workers but we live in a far from ideal world so it may well be the case that these workers will be working a good few hours just to cover their taxi fares. What a fecking sorry state of affairs this is!

An out of balance, parasitical economy relies on consumer spending (and the debt that fuels that spending) to keep it going. With growing concerns about the impact of Brexit leading to a loss of consumer confidence plus the structural shift to online shopping, bricks & mortar (plus glass, steel, plastic etc.) shops are having a nightmare that’s going to get worse as we go into an uncertain 2019. The shops in the chains all have shareholders to keep happy and as such, are under enormous pressure. The retailers are hoping Boxing Day provides some kind of a boost to their flagging fortunes. Hence the pressure on retail workers to put in the hours, regardless of the personal cost to them.

This is a time of year where in an ideal world, people should be able to slow down a bit and take time out to rest and reflect. Instead we endure an unsustainable, dystopian, debt fuelled consumer driven frenzy which ultimately does no one any good and causes a lot of harm. How much longer can this go on? How much longer will retail workers tolerate the pressure they’re under to put in anti-social hours at this time of year? It’s probably too late for this year but come 2019/20, a challenge to this crap from the shopfloor is long overdue.