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Easter Sunday is for families not finance

11 March 2008

Easter Sunday is for families not finance

The Green Party is congratulating Bunnings for closing its shops on Easter Sunday and allowing its workers to share a holiday with their communities, families and friends, Sue Bradford, Spokesperson on Employment Relations says.

The decision comes after union members petitioned the Australian Government on Bunnings stance on New Zealand trading laws.

"New Zealand now has a situation where overseas owned companies, such as Bunnings, are bound to follow New Zealand law by the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Companies, while some New Zealand based companies, such as Foodstuffs, which owns Pak N Save and New World Supermarkets, apparently feel no such obligation.

"Public holidays are more than just a day off. They are a time for families and communities to be together. The purpose and value of public holidays is undermined if everyone has a different day off because retailers are compelling their employees to work," Ms Bradford says.

"Bunnings and its workers have taken an important step to remind us why we have holidays in the first place. I hope other companies, such as Foodstuffs, which owns Pak N Save Gisborne, will be brave enough to follow Bunnings' lead.

"The families of workers at Pak N Save Gisborne have the same right as Bunnings workers to see their loved ones at home on public holidays.

"I hope the Department of Labour is going to vigorously protect the right of ordinary working kiwis to spend a legal public holiday with their children, their families or their friends and communities.

"This is not a minor breach of trading hours; it is depriving people of time with their families and undermining an important shared space that helps make our communities strong.

"The Green Party would like to see the Department of Labour given the ability to close for the day businesses which choose to break the law, rather than just fine them as they currently do.

"Despite being fined, it is clear that many businesses feel they can make enough money on public holidays - when other retail business are abiding by the law - to justify keeping their staff at work and away from their families and loved ones."


ENDS

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