Santas march against Boxing Day trade

Angry Santas will lead a protest in Sydney against NSW government plans to allow more retailers to open their doors on Boxing Day.

Union members, religious leaders and community groups will attend a forum in Sydney’s CBD on Tuesday morning to discuss the issue before marching behind the Santas to state parliament.

Shop and Allied Distributers Association (SDA) NSW President Gerard Dwyer said legislation sitting in the NSW Upper House was an attack on workers’ rights to family time over the festive period.

“If this legislation is passed, the O’Farrell government will be able to say that they’re the government that ruined Christmas for the thousands of workers and their families across the state,” he said in a statement.

Currently only stores in Sydney’s CBD and at popular tourists destinations in NSW are allowed to open on Boxing Day.

Dwyer said people could shop on 360 days a year and the argument that opening on Boxing Day was good for the economy was untrue.

“There’s research to show that it doesn’t make a difference to the amount of money spent in stores – it just redistributes the spending.

“People don’t magically get more money in their pockets on Boxing Day.”

Dwyer said politicians should commit to putting family ahead of the interests of a few big retailers.

He told AAP that Sydney CBD stores were staffed with genuine volunteers on Boxing Day but if all stores across Sydney opened that would put pressure on workers to fill the required shifts.

He said branch managers would lean on people to work and casual employees would be particularly vulnerable because they would fear losing future shifts.

“If you are a casual your realistic capacity to say no is severely limited.”

Dwyer said if the legislation was passed it would lead to trading on other protected days such as Christmas Day, Easter Sunday, Easter Friday and Anzac Day.



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