Federal Government’s retail trading change an attack on workers

The Federal Government’s announcement today that it is adopting the Harper Review recommendation that retail trading hours be deregulated is a bitter blow to workers.


Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees’ Association NSW Secretary, Bernie Smith, said that the decision to rob workers of community celebrations like Boxing Day and Easter Sunday will be particularly difficult for workers to accept given the Federal Government is also continuing to talk about cutting penalty rates.


“Not only does our Federal Government now want workers to miss out on important occasions like Boxing Day, but it is also still pushing for the penalty rates workers receive for working on those important days to be slashed,” Mr Smith said.


“The Federal Government is attacking workers in industries like retail from all angles.


“Our shops can currently open 99 per cent of the time. To rob workers of the ability to spend special occasions like Boxing Day with their friends and family is a terrible attack on our communities.


“It’s a sad day when a Federal Government decides it cares more about pleasing the retail lobby groups than it does about ensuring communities can spend important occasions together.


“Extending retail trading hours will have no economic benefit whatsoever, but it will have a huge social impact on our communities.


“This just shows how out of touch our Federal Government is with Australian workers.


“We don’t live in a 24/7 economy – we live in communities. The Federal Government seems to have forgotten that.


“The Prime Minister keeps saying that Australia needs to be more ‘agile’ in an attempt to convince us his bad policies are necessary. This latest disaster of a policy decision will mean that retail workers and their families are going to need to be pretty agile at Christmas and Easter if they’re to find the time to celebrate important occasions with their friends and families.


“Special days, like Boxing Day and Easter Sunday, should be about families making memories, not reduced to just another shopping day.


“The NSW Government stripped away Boxing Day from workers just a couple of weeks ago, and now the Federal Government wants to rob us of Easter Sunday too.”


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