Religious leaders urge O’Farrell to reject retail trading hour extension

Mar 12 2014

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Religious and civil society leaders have today called on the O’Farrell Government to guarantee no further retail trade extensions on significant days such as Good Friday, Easter Saturday, Boxing Day and Anzac Day (half day).

In an open letter to the Premier, the leaders declared any reduction in the 4.5 days set aside as special public holidays would be out of step with the needs and views of the community at large.

A recent poll found the majority of the NSW community (66%) agree that closing stores on public holidays is a good way to encourage quality family time for workers[1].

“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,” Rev. Keith Garner, Superintendent/CEO of Wesley Mission, said today.

“Retail and warehouse workers should have the same opportunity as others to enjoy and celebrate significant cultural and religious days, not miss out on important get-togethers with family and friends.

“Every shop is free to lawfully trade on almost 99% of days in the year. That’s 360.5 days where people can satisfy the shopping urge.

“With Easter just around the corner, Premier O’Farrell and his government should stand up and protect these special holidays for the majority of retail workers across NSW,” Rev. Garner said.

More than 500 retail and warehouse workers will gather at Australian Technology Park in Sydney  today to join the ‘Take the Time’ campaign to improve work/life balance

“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,” Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees Association, NSW Branch Secretary Gerard Dwyer said today.

“With more than 10% 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 SDA and religious leaders urgently seek a meeting with the Premier before the next COAG meeting to ensure workers are heard about the damaging impacts of retail hours extensions,” he said.

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