Reported in the News Letter on October 31, 1955: Russian shop employees work a 48-hour week


Shop opening hours in Russia are generally 9am to 9pm, says the report of the delegation of the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers which visited Russia in July.

“There are variations of this arrangement according to local needs or type of shop – we saw a butcher’s shop in Moscow cutting and serving at 10 o’clock on a Sunday night; we also saw hairdressers working at 11pm, and grocers serving at 10pm.

“Some shops give a full seven-day service, with employees having a day off on rota. The 48-hour working week applies to shop and catering workers throughout the USSR. The staff work an eight-hour day in a two-shift system, with variations according to trade requirements.”

The report states that the standard of life of the shop workers is lower than that of his counterpart in Britain. There was a general drabness about the shops and the goods sold there.

The delegation were informed that during the 37 years of the USSR the trade union had never had a case of a strike or of members desiring to withdraw their labour.