Union con­cern over ex­tended trad­ing

Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - NEWS -

THE union rep­re­sent­ing work­ers in the retail sec­tor has urged the State Govern­ment to scrap any plans to ex­tend trad­ing hours be­cause it will not lead to job cre­ation.

In Au­gust, Premier Colin Bar­nett said his Govern­ment would al­low busi­nesses to open at 9am on Sun­days if re-elected at the next state elec­tion in 2017.

Two months later, Com­merce Min­is­ter Michael Mischin pro­posed al­low­ing an ad­di­tional seven shop­ping hours per week.

The changes would mean gen­eral retail shops could open at 7am Mon­day to Satur­day and close an hour later on Satur­day.

Mr Mischin said the move would pro­vide greater con­ve­nience, choice and flex­i­bil­ity for con­sumers, pro­mote com­pe­ti­tion and boost em­ploy­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties in the sec­tor.

But the WA branch of the Shop, Distribu­tive and Al­lied Em­ploy­ees As­so­ci­a­tion (SDA), which rep­re­sents more than 23,000 retail work­ers in WA, has ar­gued against fur­ther trad­ing hour ex­ten­sions.

Branch sec­re­tary Peter O’Ke­effe said longer trad­ing hours would give big re­tail­ers more power and would not re­sult in the cre­ation of more jobs.

He cited Aus­tralian Bureau of Sta­tis­tics labour force sta­tis­tics which showed the av­er­age num­ber of peo­ple em­ployed in retail ac­tu­ally fell from 131,000 in 2011 to 129,000 in 2015.

Week­day late-night trad­ing was in­tro­duced in 2010 and Sun­day trad­ing in 2012.

“Ex­pe­ri­ence has shown that giv­ing the big re­tail­ers more mar­ket share comes at the ex­pense of smaller re­tail­ers, who end up los­ing busi­ness and putting off staff,” Mr O’Ke­effe said.

“Th­ese jobs are not re­placed by po­si­tions with the big re­tail­ers, which gen­er­ally stretch their ex­ist­ing work­force over the longer hours, in­stead of hir­ing new peo­ple.

“This has a huge im­pact on the fam­ily and com­mu­nity lives of retail work­ers.”

Mr Mischin said the Govern­ment’s pol­icy on dereg­u­la­tion was con­sis­tent with suc­ces­sive mar­ket and com­pe­ti­tion ef­fi­ciency re­views and the trend in other states.

“Ex­tended trad­ing hours have been well re­ceived by the shop­ping pub­lic,” he said.

“Un­fair com­pe­ti­tion and mar­ket share dom­i­na­tion is best dealt with by fed­eral com­pe­ti­tion pol­icy and laws, not by our State Govern­ment telling peo­ple when they can and can­not shop.”

Mr O’Ke­effe said any pro­posed changes to trad­ing hours should be sub­ject to a full pub­lic par­lia­men­tary in­quiry.

Peter O’Ke­effe.

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