SDA defeats total deregulation of shop trading hours.
The SDA has successfully defeated the total deregulation of shop trading hours throughout Queensland. The large retailers would like trading hours to be the same as in Victoria and NSW where the retailers can trade 24 hours a day 361 days per year.
The state government set up an enquiry into trading hours and asked the major players including the SDA to participate in the enquiry.
We argued that any extension of trading hours would not produce one additional job. We argued that it was fanciful to believe otherwise. We told the government that we have continually surveyed our members on the trading hours’ issue. After all, it is SDA members who have worked and lived through the trading hours’ changes. Our members continually report that customers can only spend their money once. If they spend it at 8am, they then can’t re-spend it at 8pm. As a result, no additional jobs have been created in the industry and no additional jobs will be created in the retail industry with the latest changes.
The enquiry met a number of times and canvassed total deregulation of trading hours, the effect upon employees and small business and the inconsistency of trading hours across the state.
It was against this background that SDA participated in the enquiry.
On 14 February, 2017 the state government called a press conference and announced its changes. The major changes affecting SDA members are:
- Trading hours will be harmonised across the state thus meaning that trading hours will increase in some stores.
- Trading hours will be relaxed for such events as the Commonwealth Games.
- Easter Sunday will become a trading day across the state.
- There will be a moratorium for 5 years on any further extension to shop trading hours.
- Retail workers can choose whether they wish to work the additional hours or not.
We have mixed feelings about the Review but we know that the outcome could have been far worse. As such:
- The SDA was extremely successful in stopping the relentless push for the open slather of shop trading hours. For most stores, the increase is marginal.
- We fought hard for the 5 year moratorium on any further application to increase trading hours and we were successful.
- We vigorously argued that retail workers should only have to work the additional hours if they elected to work such hours. Importantly, we won this battle. No member can be required to work the additional hours and this right will enshrined in legislation.
- The SDA understands the need for relaxed hours during the Commonwealth Games but do not see the need for Easter Sunday trading. In 2016, we lobbied hard to make Easter Sunday a public holiday and we won. Therefore, members can choose whether to work or not and be paid public holiday penalties if they choose to work on this day.
Finally, there is no doubt that if the SDA was a small, marginal union the state government could have brought in shop trading hours which were the same as Victoria. This would have been a disaster for our members and their families.
Members can be assured that the SDA will keep fighting for its members.
We will continue to fight for the work life balance of our members.
We have five years to keep the union strong so that we can meet and beat any challenge that comes our way.
In the meantime, we will keep fighting for Christmas Eve to become a public holiday after 6pm. I know that with your support we will achieve this just like we achieved Easter Sunday becoming a public holiday from 2017.
We will continue to keep members updated on these important matters.