Representatives from the Take The Time campaign today presented the Leader of the Opposition Mr John Robertson with a petition of over 9,000 signatories opposing the Retail Trading Amendments Bill announced by the O’Farrell Government last Wednesday.
Mr Robertson will table the petition in parliament before debate on the Bill commences this afternoon.
Bernie Smith the Assistant Secretary of the Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees’ Association, NSW Branch, criticised the bill: “This bill threatens the only 4½ remaining days each year that retail workers can spend with family, friends and the community.”
Mr Smith in discussing the proposed bill said “This is a bad proposal for 3 reasons:
• It is bad for work life balance;
• It is bad economics; and
• It is either badly drafted or it deliberately seeks to open all shops on all days”
“Our concern is that increasing the number of days worked won’t increase jobs and it won’t increase sales over a given trading period but it will increase the pressure on family and community time.”
Whilst the bill claims to only require volunteer workers Mr Smith highlighted the inadequacies of the proposal. “Already up to 30% of members report feeling pressured to work on public holidays. If you are a casual employee you are on call. If you say no to a shift you drop down the list. Do you really have the power to say no in the real world? The proposed bill could even have shop assistants being required to pack shelves on Christmas Day or during the Anzac Day services behind closed doors.
“These special days should be days for families, faith groups and the community to come together to commemorate, to celebrate or to remember. Some days just should not be for sale.
“We call on all members of the parliament to reject this bill.”
Accepting the petitions from retail workers Christine Goldring from Seven Hills and Galadriel Caldwell from Newcastle, John Robertson said “These changes mean we are getting to the point where Christmas Day, Boxing Day and Easter Sunday mean absolutely nothing.”
“The O’Farrell Government’s attack on public holidays proves that they have no regard for families and friends being able to come together and spend quality time on these special occasions.”