Analysis shows longer trading hours has delivered fewer retail jobs

Wednesday 27 Jan 2016

Analysis shows longer trading hours has delivered fewer retail jobs

The number of West Australians employed in retail has fallen since the Barnett Government gave Coles, Woolworths and other large retailers the power to stay open until 9pm.

Despite the government’s claims that late night trading would create more jobs, the average number of people employed in retail actually fell from 131,000 in 2011 to 129,000 in 2015 (ABS Labour Force Statistics).  Over the same period, Western Australia’s population increased by almost 10 per cent.

Legislation was introduced into State Parliament in November that would give the big retailers the power to open at 7am on weekdays, instead of 8am.

SDA WA Secretary Peter O’Keeffe said giving the big retailers even more power would cost retail jobs.

“Experience has shown that giving the big retailers more market share comes at the expense of smaller retailers, who end up losing business and putting off staff,” he said.

“These jobs are not replaced by positions with the big retailers, which generally stretch their existing workforce over the longer hours, instead of hiring new people.

“More market share for the big retailers will result in local producers finding it difficult to launch new products, with generic brands taking up more and more space on shelves.”

The SDA today launched a major television advertising campaign to fight the Barnett Government’s plan to give big retailers more power.  The commercials will screen on Channels 7, 9 and 10 during January, February and March.

Mr O’Keeffe said the SDA would do everything in its power to stop the proposed changes, on behalf of retail workers and the West Australian community.

“Colin Barnett seems to think his government can get away with giving more and more power to the big end of town, at the expense of the rest of the community,” he said.

“The SDA has decided to take a stand, on behalf of retail workers and many small businesses, who don’t individually have the resources to make their concerns heard.

“True economic reform should create jobs and opportunities, and be of benefit to the whole community, not just the big retailers.”

Mr O’Keeffe called for any proposed changes to trading hours to be subjected to a full public Parliamentary inquiry.

“We want an inquiry where the costs of both previous and proposed changes on the whole community can be considered, alongside the benefits delivered to big retailers,” he said.