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Union rails against Boxing Day trade

Shopping, ChristmasUnionists are urging the NSW government to reverse a change to Boxing Day retail laws, saying thousands of workers are being deprived of spending the Christmas season with their families.

The Baird government last year made it possible for many retail shops to open on Boxing Day without having to apply for an exemption as long as employees volunteer to work.

But the Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees Association says one in four 2015 workers it surveyed did not freely elect to work.

“The reality is that retail employees feel significant pressure to work Boxing Day from their managers, when saying ‘no’ runs the risk of having your hours cut,” SDA NSW secretary Bernie Smith said in a statement on Sunday.

“Our shops are already open almost 360.5 days of the year and the sales will still be there on 27 December.”

Australians are expected to spend more than $2 billion on heavily discounted products during Boxing Day 2016.

For retailers, it’s the year’s biggest day but Mr Smith says it’s ruining Christmas for workers.

“The top of retail workers’ wish list this Christmas is two days off: Christmas and Boxing Day,” he said.

“It’s a simple solution: close the shops and let everybody celebrate Christmas and Boxing Day with their families.”

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