Norwegian Trade Union will crack down on stores that open on Sunday


Northern Europe


Photo AFP, Terje Bendiksby

The Trade Association Handel og Kontor (HK) in Norway wants to punish stores that open on Sunday illegally.

HK head Espen Berntsen is in favour of giving “stinging fines” to shop owners who refuse to close their doors on Sunday. He believes that the main problem currently is that police do not enforce the law regarding Sunday opening hours of shops, he tells Dagen.

In Norway, stores bigger than 100 square metres are not allowed to be open on the first day of the week, Fri Fagbevegelse writes.

Earlier, it became known that the Norwegian Ekomarket remained open on Sunday, even though their premises exceeded 100 square metres. The head of the stores, Roman Presichi, told Fri Fagbevegelse that he did not break the law. “We are limiting the sales area on Sundays to 100 square metres”, he points out.

Yet, that does not satisfy HK head Berntsen. He went to the store on a Sunday to check. There, he found out that the distance from one side to the other side of the store is about 18 metres. “No doubt, they are breaking the law”, he concluded.


At first, HK reported stores that opened illegally on Sunday to the police. However, Berntsen soon discovered that the reports were dismissed. Now, he pleads for a different solution: “Let officers fine store owners when they encounter them on regular patrols. Then they do not have to file a report”, he says to Fri Fagbevegelse. Berntsen emphasises that these fines should not be cheap. “. It must be the size of the illegal, daily turnover. If the police only give a fine of NOK 5,000, it will not be noticed.”

The HK head is supported in his proposal by the justice policy spokesperson of the Christian Democratic Party (KrF). The spokesperson, Kjell Ingolf Ropstad, writes to Dagen that he thinks it is important the police have the power to issue fines during their patrols. “When the law is broken several times, I think it is natural that the punishment is also more severe.” He is afraid that not enforcing the law will eventually lead to liberalisation.

The Minister of Children and Families who is responsible for the Act on public holiday peace, Kjersti Toppe, says that she has not read a proposal for new enforcement of the law. She indicates that she will not reject or support it but will consider it. At the same time, she adds that she does not want to liberalise the law.



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