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Retail workers union offers 11th hour solution on Easter trading

Date of Release: 
Wednesday, August 24, 2016

The union representing working people in retail is calling on the Government to withdraw the Shop Trading Hours Amendment Bill and convene a cross-sector working group to develop Easter trading laws the country can agree on.

The move comes after mounting opposition including pleas from a group of former All Blacks, an admission that even Deputy Prime Minister Bill English opposes reform and a 10,000-strong leaflet drop by unions in the Ohariu electorate asking residents to sign a petition calling on Peter Dunne to withdraw his support. 

“If this were a conscience vote, the Bill would fail at its third reading,” said FIRST Union General Secretary Robert Reid.

“John Key is throwing local authorities a hospital pass. The Bill makes Easter trading laws more complicated, not less, and could lead to situations where local authorities in tourist areas vote to keep shops shut on Easter Sunday while non-tourist areas vote to open their shops.”

“That’s not a solution, it’s a cop out,” said Reid.

“Easter Sunday is one of only three and a half days that working people in retail can count on as a day off. The Government says they’ll have the power to say no to work on Easter Sunday, but we know from bitter experience it isn’t that simple.”

“A person on a 90 day trial might be out of work on day 89 after choosing to spend Easter Sunday with family rather than at work.”

“We’re willing to come together with retailers, churches, the Government and local authorities to sort this out. There’s already a model for how it should be done – the Equal Pay Working Group.”

“The Government should withdraw the Bill and allow its own MPs who oppose the Bill to be at peace with their conscience,” said Reid. 

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