Unions in Hungary seek referendum to overturn shopping ban

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) — Hungarian trade unions say they'll try to launch a referendum to overturn a new rule banning most stores from opening on Sundays.

Istvan Gasko, president of the Democratic League of Independent Trade Unions, said the government had held only "pretend negotiations" before making the decision, which affects most stores across the country from March 15.

Gasko said Monday the change hurts employees, many of whom earn the minimum monthly wage of 105,000 forints ($365) before taxes, because they will lose Sunday bonuses, while consumers will lose the comfort of Sunday shopping.

The government says it supported the proposal by the Christian Democrat party because it wants to prevent anyone from being forced to work on Sundays.

The unions need an electoral committee's approval and 200,000 signatures to have a referendum.