Germany's retail trade and consumer protection organizations welcomed Chancellor Gerhard Schröder's call for extending shop opening hours from to 8 p.m. on Saturdays. Schröder announced on Tuesday evening he would reintroduce the issue in the Social Democrat-Green Party-led parliament. Trade unions, however, reaffirmed their objections to longer shopping hours. Currently, retail businesses must close at 4 p.m. on Saturday and 8 p.m. on weekdays. On some occasions, though, including the Christmas shopping season, shops are allowed to stay open later on Saturdays. They can open on Sundays only four days each year. A similar bid to liberalize opening times failed two years ago against serious trade union resistance.