Woolworths is seeking permission from the department of industrial relations to ask staff to fill shelves on Christmas Day in NSW, in order to better prepare for the Boxing Day rush.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Woolworths is the only company to have made this application.
“This type of stock replenishment activity is permitted on public holidays in all other states and territories,” a Woolworths spokesperson told SMH.
“We have more than 38,000 team members in New South Wales, many of whom tell us they want the opportunity to earn public holiday pay rates on Christmas Day.”
According to the spokesperson, Woolworths won’t compel anyone to work who doesn’t want to and respects the right of employees to enjoy the holiday.
If a store can’t get enough staff who are willing to work, it will not conduct the night-fill operations.
The Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees Association is expected to march on Sydney’s parliament house on Wednesday in protest.
The union recently unveiled a campaign to provide young workers with accessible and straightforward information on the topic of workplace rights.
“It’s safe to say that a large number of young people barely know unions exist, let alone how they can help, or why they should join one,” SDA national secretary Gerard Dwyer said.
According to research from the University of Sydney, 25 per cent of student retail workers are underpaid, and 35 per cent do not receive the correct weekend rates.
Woolworths and the SDA have been approached for comment, but had not responded as of publication.