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An Easter break for retail workers - how about next year?

Date of Release: 
Friday, April 6, 2012

Retail workers will be pleased to have a couple of their rare guaranteed days off work this Easter, but there is doubt over that break for 2013 with a bill to open up Easter trading still on the political agenda.

FIRST Union President, Margaret Dornan, who is a retail worker, said that politicians have tried multiple times to legislate to take Easter Sunday holidays off retail workers and it’s time they gave up.

“We all know that at Easter or Christmas the likes of John Key and National MP Jacqui Dean, who is putting forward the bill, will be enjoying time off with their families. It’s not fair that they try and force us to work when shops are already open 361 and a half days per year,” said Margaret Dornan.

FIRST Union General Secretary Robert Reid said that although Jacqui Dean’s bill relates to a particular area in Otago, there are around 267,000 people working in retail who could be affected if Easter trading rules were relaxed across the country.

“Retail workers work long hours for low pay already and have precious little time with their families. This bill would make the situation even worse, but for what purpose? The rest of us have plenty of opportunities to go shopping on nearly every other day of the year,” Robert Reid said.

“Bunnings have decided not to open their garden centres this Easter Sunday which is good news for their workers.

“For the benefit of all retail workers and their families, we  want the current law respected and enforced - not weakened.”

Robert Reid said that FIRST Union would be working with employers who also oppose the change, other unions, church and community groups to make sure that any attack on Easter would be defeated, as has already happened eight times since 1996.

Catholic organisation Caritas is encouraging people to send photos and stories about how they spend their Easter – whether it be family time, religious observation or sporting and community events, to .

“For me, Easter is a rare chance to spend time with the grandkids,” said Margaret Dornan. “We’re determined that I and other retail workers should have the same opportunity next year and beyond.”


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