Easter trading time is advertised at a New World supermarket in Venaka. Photo / ODT
Two supermarkets in Venaka have been accused of violating Easter trade rules by opening their doors today.
The public has warned the tense FIRST union that two New World stores in the city are blatantly advertising the opening hours on Good Friday.
FIRST Union Southern Regional Secretary Paul Watson said he had contacted a labor inspector about alleged breaches of the holiday law, which meant most businesses should close on Good Friday.
“There are only three and a half days in a full calendar year where a supermarket cannot open.
“Here they are, making a trip on Good Friday, which workers should stay away from and spend time with their loved ones, and for some it should be noted the religious significance of the Easter break.
“It’s absolutely disgraceful to hire people on Good Friday – it’s just greed,” Watson said.
The Ministry of Commerce, Innovation and Employment has not confirmed whether the investigation has been launched.
But Labor analyst David Milne, regional manager, said “major retail brands such as Food and Countdown … were reminded of their obligations during the restricted shop business days.”
“The Labor Analyst has not released operational details related to the implementation of the shop trade, although businesses trading on restricted shop trading days could face fines of up to $ 1000, especially if they have been previously warned and prosecuted.”
Watson said the fine was slightly higher than the one slapped on the wrist.
“Where is the incentive not to trade? This is a significant issue – a part of the law needs to change.
“Employers who blatantly violate such an act should be severely punished.”
In a statement, it backed the decision to open South Island stores for groceries.
“This holiday comes against the backdrop of a very challenging year for the Queenstown and Venaga community, who have been severely affected by Govt-19 and the lack of international tourism.
“Many businesses are struggling – the Easter holiday is a time when local tourism is a much-needed revenue for local businesses and a real boost to the community.
“In situations like this, our store owners will make informed decisions to prioritize the needs of their community, staff and customers, and we know that the local community appreciates the ability to access essential groceries during the holidays.”
They added that employees working these days would be paid one and a half hours and would get one day instead.
But if the stores don’t open, Kiwi will struggle to get the sudden arrival of holiday makers, they said.
Watson said it was not an excuse to buy it.
“Small to medium businesses – other businesses – really struggled a lot harder than supermarkets, they’re really doing the right thing, not opening today?”