04. 06. 12. - 13:56
Spar a success at Salzburg station
Catholic Austria has a strict ban on working on Sundays, and now is divided over a controversial plan allowing a supermarket to open up at the main train station in Salzburg on Sundays.
Trade unions were furious about the move after it was announced that local MP Walter Blachfellner (SPÖ) had approved the Sunday opening of the train station branch of Spar.
But while the workers representatives complained bitterly it was extremely popular among locals with huge queues of people forming during the first Sunday of opening.
As well as families there were lots of travellers and even local staff at the train station queueing up to purchase items.
Branch manager Daniel Steiner said he was pleased with the results of the first day which had begun with the opening at 8 AM.
He said: "This shows that a service like this has been really well received. People were really pleased to be here and managed to get everything that they wanted - on a Sunday. The most popular items were snack items and small things that customers needed to take with them quickly. That includes flowers and things such as toiletry articles or cleaning products for the home."
He continued: "There was no problem with the staff – in fact we had a lot of people asking if they can only work on Sundays because the pay is obviously so much better."
The store typically employs between 15 and 20 staff for a Sunday shift which is paid double the normal rate for working in the store that has a surface of 385 m.
A customer survey showed that the idea had been well received and the trade unions trying to stop the project were criticised. Train staff who had to work on Sundays appreciated being able to buy items, and the store staff had all volunteered and not been forced to take part in the project.
The Catholic Church also criticised the Sunday opening, urging that the Sunday remain a day of rest.