Holy row over retail trading hours

Mar 12 2014

Thou shalt shop for no longer. That’s the commandment from religious and union leaders who say politicians must love, honour and obey existing retail trading hours.

Four-and-a-half days are at present restricted retail days in NSW, with shops forced to secure an exemption if they want to open on Good Friday, Easter Sunday, Anzac Day (up to 1pm), Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

But the Wesley Mission and the Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees Association (SDA) fear an extension to opening hours is in store across the country.

‘‘What we’ve seen in recent decades is a dramatic increase in retail hours, eroding the work/life balance of many workers and placing pressure on family and friendships,’’ said Wesley Mission CEO Rev Keith Garner.

SDA NSW general secretary Gerard Dwyer says the federal government is plotting to secure agreement with the states and territories to extend retail hours.

‘‘Retail and warehouse workers were shocked by recent media reports that the federal government will seek agreement from COAG for extended retail trading hours across the country,’’ he said.

‘‘With more than 10 per cent of the NSW workforce working in retail and associated logistics, do we really want to deny these people the chance to spend special occasions with their families?’’

The religious and union leaders are seeking a meeting with NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell before the next COAG meeting, on May 2, to express their views.

Comment has been sought from Mr O’Farrell’s office and from the Australian National Retail Association.

Full Illawarra Mercury story here 

Stand up for retail workers and any further erosion of their precious family time.
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