"Our team wanted to be on sale sunday, 4. March 2018, being there for you – we must not! We ask for your understanding!" this sentence was written by robert leithner, manager of the intersport store in albert-ruckdeschel-street, at the end of a large newspaper advertisement. There is not only disappointment behind this, but also a fair amount of criticism: of the trade union verdi, the catholic workers’ movement (KAB) and the city of kulmbach.
In the latter, robert leithner had requested that the scope for 2018 be adjusted to the respective market situations. His suggestion: one could very well tackle an axis downtown – realparkplatz – intersport leithner-customer parking lot at the event flea market in september/october. He asked that a flexible solution be sought "because otherwise we would no longer see any reason to be involved in the retail trade in the city center".
Threat of lawsuit in the room
but nothing of the sort has happened. The one from tourism& event service (TUV) on 26. February the site plan sent by e-mail shows the area between the market square and the fritz shopping center as the area to be covered – so intersport leithner is once again left out. "We are a bit angry about this now, they are just taking the path of least resistance", says the owner. Resistance would indeed be expected if the city were to increase the area of application. The trade union verdi has already proven this several times in the form of lawsuits. However, leithner’s displeasure is not only directed against verdi, but also against the catholic employee movement (KAB), which works with the trade union.
After a service in st. Hedwig, where his daughter is an altar girl, he caught a KAB representative asking the girl for her opinion as part of the signature campaign against open sundays. "My daughter is only 14. When left-wing tours like this are used, you can imagine how people in germany try to create lobbies for themselves.", the sports expert is outraged. The KAB passes the data on to verdi, and the union then builds a construct to justify lawsuits.
Basically, robert leithner doesn’t understand why more and more restrictions have to take effect in a city that already has problems in the retail sector. "My employees are doing this voluntarily. We would have been there because we don’t want to work against our customers, but for them."
"Bound by law and order
"i can understand that some retailers have little understanding for the restriction of the spatial scope – but as a city we are bound by law and order. If we were to act differently, we would run the risk that the entire open sunday would be up for discussion and that no one would be allowed to open at all", emphasizes helmut volkl, operations manager for tourism& event service the city council’s resolution in february was also based on the originally large scope of application.
"Verdi lodged a supervisory complaint against this decision with the responsible legal authority, the district administration office", says volkl. There, in turn, the union’s concerns would have to be legally pursued. "The city then submitted the required statement to the district office. One of verdi’s main demands – and this applies nationwide – is, among other things, to significantly reduce the areas of application for such open sundays to the direct spatial surroundings of the event only. This means that our hands are tied as a city."
Kulmbach is no exception, continues volkl. "Cities such as bayreuth are in the same situation – in many other cities, such as munich, open sundays were even completely prevented by a lawsuit filed by verdi."
The legal basis for this was created by the federal administrative court and the bavarian administrative court in rulings in 2015. Among other things, these also state that the main attraction for the majority of visitors on this day must not be the open stores, but the event. Volkl: "unfortunately, i have to say, all this gives verdi the leverage to make sundays open for sale in this form much more difficult and to limit them severely."
No longer in keeping with the times
it is a pity, says the TUV manager, that bavaria is still guided by a law on the closing of stores that came into being shortly after the war. "That may have been correct at the time – but nowadays it completely ignores the reality of life in retail, where the internet makes shopping possible seven days a week and 24 hours a day."