Retail workers call on Premier Berejiklian to give Boxing Day back to families

Jan 23 2017

The SDA NSW, the union for retail, fast food and warehouse workers has called on the new Premier Gladys Berejiklian to take a positive first step by giving Boxing Day back to NSW families.

SDA NSW Secretary Bernie Smith said that over the last two years Mike Baird had robbed the families of NSW retail workers by allowing Boxing Day trading across the State.

“Premier Berejiklian now has the opportunity to make things right by preserving Boxing Day as a true public holiday for everyone across NSW.”

“Now is the perfect time to break with the unpopular policies of the Baird Government by reinstating Boxing Day trading restrictions to protect one of the few public holidays the people of NSW have left.”

Mr Smith said that the Government’s two-year trial of retail trading on Boxing Day has deprived retail workers of spending time this festive season with their families and has been deeply unpopular.

“Research commissioned this year by the SDA found that 88% of respondents felt it was important that Australians receive a two-day holiday break over Christmas.”

A large majority of respondents also felt that it was more important for all workers to have two days off at Christmas (68%), than it was for shops to be open on Boxing Day (22%).

“Clearly, the people of NSW want to preserve Boxing Day as a special time for relaxing with family and friends, playing backyard cricket, having BBQs and enjoying the summer.”

“Unlike her predecessor, Premier Berejiklian can now demonstrate that she’s in touch with everyday Australian’s and cares about their lives by giving back Boxing Day to the people.”

“We know there is no economic benefit at all to opening the shops on the last few remaining trading free days. More retail trading days do not create more disposable income, but there is a huge social cost.”

“As the Premier mentioned in her opening speech, we should be focused on doing what’s right for the majority of people in NSW, rather than appeasing the vested interests of a few,” Mr Smith said. 

Whilst shops wishing to open for trade on Boxing Day are meant to be restricted by the condition that all employees working on the day must be volunteers, many retail employees surveyed by the SDA had not volunteered to work at all.

“In 2015, almost one in three did not ‘freely elect to work’ and experienced pressure from their employer to work on Boxing Day,” Mr Smith said.

“The reality is that retail employees feel significant pressure to work Boxing Day from their managers, when saying ‘no’ runs the risk of having your hours cut or missing out on extra work at other times.”

The Take the Time campaign strongly opposes moves to permanently allow stores to open their doors on Boxing Day – or any of our other last few remaining trading-free days.

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