Media release: Workers robbed of Boxing Day for no reason; December retail figures drop

Feb 7 2018

Media release, 7 February 2018

Workers robbed of Boxing Day for no reason; December retail figures drop  

December trade figures released this week, which showed a drop in retail spending in the festive month, prove the NSW Government’s decision to allow trading across the state on Boxing Day was a complete failure.

The figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics show that retail spending fell 0.5 per cent in seasonally adjusted terms.

SDA – the union for retail workers – NSW Secretary, Bernie Smith, said the figures support the findings of the trial of Boxing Day trading in 2015 and 2016, which showed no measurable benefit to opening doors on December 26th.

“These figures show that no one is benefitting from having stores open on Boxing Day,” Mr Smith said. “All that trading on Boxing Day does is rob workers of valuable time with their family and friends.

“Workers are being forced away from their families to man stores, and for what benefit? Trading figures actually fell despite stores being open an additional day.

“We’ve been saying for a long time that shoppers don’t magically find more money to spend if stores open their doors on December 26th. All that happens is that our community suffers because workers and their families are robbed of the opportunity to celebrate Boxing Day together.

“The NSW Government should immediately reassess its decision to rob workers of their right to spend the festive season with their family and friends by opening stores on Boxing Day.”

Figures also back case for a pay rise

Mr Smith said the retail figures also highlight the need to give Australians a pay rise.

“In order for retail figures to rebound, Australia needs a pay rise. Retailers, and other service sector employers, should be supporting a decent increase in the national minimum wage because ultimately, they’ll benefit too.

“Workers are consumers too. If you’re attacking the take-home pay of workers, it’s only natural that discretionary spending will decrease.

“The attack on workers’ penalty rates is also no doubt having an impact on our retail trading figures.

“When the Federal Government backed the attack on the take-home pay of tens of thousands of workers by cutting penalty rates, it was essentially signing off on an attack the ability of tens of thousands of people to spend on discretionary items. That would have hit particularly hard at Christmas.

“The Federal Government should be looking at these figures carefully and taking action to reverse the hurtful attack on workers’ penalty rates.”

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