Families before commerce at Easter
The retail workers’ union has hit back at critics of New Zealand's modest Easter trading restrictions.
"Some things are more important than going to the mall, and for just three and a half days each year we put community and family time before commerce, as the nation's 270,000 strong retail workforce have guaranteed time off," FIRST Union Retail Secretary Maxine Gay said.
New Zealand’s shopping laws are already among the most deregulated in the world, and there is no reason to make that situation worse, she said.
“New Zealanders can shop on 361 and a half days a year. We can shop on 51 of 52 Sundays of the year.”
“Easter is one of the few guaranteed times that retail workers can have off."
“Despite suggestions that this issue is simply about choice and that shops aren’t being forced to open, our retail members say this is not a real choice in practise. Shops in large malls are required to open at all times as part of the mall owners’ lease arrangements, and if their store opens, pressure will come on retail staff to work.”
"Retail workers work long hours for low pay already and have precious little time with their families.”
“Opening shops on Good Friday or Easter Sunday 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."
Maxine Gay said that the days off were important ones to retail workers, regardless of their personal faith views.
"For some retail workers, Easter is an important time to take part in religious observance. For others, it is a time to be a part of family and community activities.”
“For every retail worker though, it is precious time off to spend with people close to them," she said.