Helensburgh’s MSP has backed calls by retail trade union Usdaw to give shopworkers a day off on New Year’s Day.

Jackie Baillie says she has continually urged the Scottish Government to enforce the closure of large stores on January 1.

The Christmas Day and New Year’s Day (Scotland) Act 2007 stopped large stores from opening on Christmas Day.

Ms Baillie has asked the Scottish Government to enact its powers, granted by the legislation, to introduce a similar ban on New Year’s Day.

She said: “Time and time again, I have urged the Scottish Government to use the powers at its disposal to grant shopworkers this vital day off on New Year’s Day – and time and time again they have refused to do so.

“I completely back the campaign by Usdaw to allow members to have the day off. 

“Shopworkers have been a lifeline for us over the past three years and with the festive period being such a busy, stressful time for them, working conditions for those in retail are challenging.

“The least the SNP Government should be doing is closing large stores on New Year’s Day.”

The Scottish Government said it was “sympathetic” to the campaign, but that powers under the Act are “limited” as employment law is reserved to the UK Government.

A spokesperson added: “As such, this legislation would only restrict trading in stores over a certain size and it would not give all retail workers a day off, or ensure they were paid.

“In addition, it would not prohibit restocking, deliveries or online shopping – so employees could still be required to work.

“The Scottish Government wants Scotland to be a Fair Work Nation by 2025, where employers, workers and representative bodies work together to agree working arrangements to ensure all benefit.”

The Scottish Government held a consultation on this issue last year following a campaign by Usdaw.

The union’s regional secretary for Scotland, Tracy Gilbert, says the 98 per cent of Scottish shopworkers who said they want stores to close are not being listened to.

She added: “Our members are deeply disappointed with the attitude of the Scottish Government. Warm words and sympathy from the First Minister mean little when they refuse to enact powers given to them to stop the opening of large stores on New Year’s Day.

“Retail staff work incredibly hard all year round, but it is particularly busy and stressful throughout December.

“So they deserve to be able to spend time with family and friends. Hogmanay and New Year is a special holiday in Scotland, but this is not reflected in the experience of many retail workers.

“We urge retailers to ensure that, if they do trade on 1 January, stores are staffed with genuine volunteers only.

“Our message to the public is, if you really feel the need to shop on New Year’s Day, please respect shopworkers and understand they would most likely prefer to be spending time having a well-earned festive break.”