It is obvious that the Government is out of touch with working people. After passing the second reading of the Shop Trading Hours Amendment Bill, a law handing local authorities the power to permit trading on Easter Sunday, the government then blocked a petition before Parliament that would protect Easter Sunday as a non-trading day. New Zealanders are only guaranteed three and a half days off shopping each year. We should protect that, not reduce it.
I know a couple, both of whom are retail workers, who barely ever see each other on weekends because they’re rostered on for work. But Easter Sunday is one of the few days in the year where they can say to each other ‘let’s spend the weekend together, let’s look after our grandchildren and let’s get out in the community’. But this Bill means they’re going to lose that day off and Easter Sunday will become just another work day.
Workplace Relations Minister Michael Woodhouse is saying working people can refuse to work on Easter Sunday, but we know from bitter experience that there are consequences to saying no. People might find their hours reduced or those on a 90 day trial period might find themselves out of the job on day 89. Instead of a consistent law on Easter trading we’re going to have different policies across the country. There’s no certainty for working people in that.
Dion Martin Palmerston North