NSW Government forces workers to work on Christmas Day

Oct 22 2015

21 October, 2015: The NSW Government’s introduction of a Bill that would see thousands of people forced to work on Christmas Day and Boxing Day is a disgraceful attack on the state’s workers and families.

Government Legislative Council member, Duncan Gay, today introduced the Retail Trading Amendment Bill 2015 which calls for retail trading hours to be extended to include some of the last few remaining trading free days, including Boxing Day. Workers will also be required to work on Christmas Day to prepare stores for trading on Boxing Day.

Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees’ Association (SDA) NSW Secretary Bernie Smith said that the Government’s claims that no worker would ever be forced to work on these important days are completely incorrect, and offensive to workers.

“Our MPs are trying to make themselves feel better by saying that no worker will ever be forced to work on Christmas Day or Boxing Day if they don’t want, but they must know that is blatantly untrue,” Mr Smith said.

“If this legislation is passed through parliament, workers will be forced to work on Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

“Of course the reality is that workers will be forced to work on those days. A line in the legislation that says that workers have the right to refuse to work is all well and good, but that completely ignores the reality of the situation. No amendments can save retail workers, only keeping the shops closed can.

“The reality is that when you’re a retail worker or fast food worker and your boss tells you that you’re rostered on to work, you have to work.

“Anyone who has ever worked in an industry like retail knows that you don’t have the luxury of forcing your manager to change the roster because you want to spend Christmas Day or Boxing Day with your family.

“To suggest that only workers who “freely elect to work” will be working on Christmas is completely ridiculous.

“Does the NSW Government honestly think that there are thousands of workers across the state begging to give up Christmas Day to go to work?

“This Bill is utterly offensive to the thousands of NSW families and their workers who will torn apart on Christmas this year.

“This Government has made it very clear that cares more about keeping the retail lobby groups happy than it does NSW families.

“Our shops are open 360 ½ days a year. There’s no economic benefit at all to opening them on the last few remaining trading free days, but there will be a huge social cost.

“It beggars belief that Duncan Gay, a National Party member, whose workers in his electorate will be severely impacted by this move, would be willing to launch such an attack on Christmas.

“The NSW Government has today announced that it is going to rob NSW of Christmas.”

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