No forced labour on Boxing Day: O’Farrell

Mar 28 2014

Premier Barry O’Farrell says retail workers won’t be forced to work on Boxing Day if a NSW trading ban is lifted.

But the opposition and unions are warning that employees may be coerced into turning up.

All retailers in NSW will be allowed to open on Boxing Day under new trading laws to be introduced into parliament.

While the major department stores and some supermarkets traditionally open their doors on December 26, smaller shops are presently required to close on Boxing Day.

Retailers welcomed the changes, with the Australian National Retailers Association (ANRA) saying the new laws would allow bricks and mortar businesses to compete with online retailers.

But the retail workers’ union and state opposition on Wednesday spoke out about the changes, saying that while the law forbade workers being forced to work the public holiday, in reality they’d face coercion.

Secretary of the Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers Union, Gerard Dwyer, said the government was being “a little bit cute” by saying only those who volunteered would work on Boxing Day.

Christmas, Easter and Anzac Day would be next, he warned.

“There’ll be subtle but real pressure on people to work,” Mr Dwyer said.

“This is a line in the sand argument, it is not just about Boxing Day.”

Read the full NineMSN article

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