|Issue No 108||24 August 2001|
Westfield Squeezes The Extra Dollar
Retail workers employed at Westfield Liverpool are fuming at the shopping centre's renewed hostile bid to secure paid parking arrangements.
The Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees' Association, New South Wales Branch is leading a coalition of workers, retailers, local community and politicians to block Westfield's greedy development application to legally charge workers $240 per year to provide safe parking.
Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees' Association, New South Wales Branch Secretary Greg Donnelly has called on Council to dismiss Westfield's unfair application.
"It is astounding that Westfield seeks to squeeze retail workers for safe parking when they attend work. Westfield is only looking after Westfield in this matter. Retail workers are entitled to safe parking at their workplace."
Referring to previous occasions when the parking operator at Westfield has charged staff $60 per month for parking, in contravention of the existing development consent, Mr Donnelly today said:
"Westfield failed to provide safe parking when illegal fees were imposed at $60 per month in previous years. Westfield made this current application whilst these illegal fees were in place. It is ridiculous to even suggest that a $1 per day legal fee will now address those safety issues, which its higher illegal fee failed to address before.
Safety is an absolute obligation that Westfield, as the proprietor of the complex, should provide without cost to the retail workers engaged there."
Mr Donnelly also stated that the local residents and businesses of Liverpool had as much at stake as the retail workers:
"Our independent research indicates that approximately 43% of retail workers will park on streets rather than pay a fee. Why should local residents and businesses suffer because Westfield seeks to squeeze revenue from retail workers to cover its safety and security obligations?"
Mr Donnelly is highly critical of Westfield's track record at other centres:
"This is little more than a ruse to introduce paid parking for the centre's employees. Westfield has failed to provide free, safe parking in previous years and now seek to Council's approval to provide safety and security at a "nominal" cost.
The SDA is familiar with Westfield's concept of "nominal" cost. Westfield introduced employee parking at a "nominal" cost at Parramatta a decade ago. The original fee was $1 per day. It is now $5.00 per day.
Westfield is not concerned with the planning implications, is not concerned with security and is not concerned with the economic welfare of retail workers. Westfield is concerned about increasing its massive profits even further.
On the 13th August, 2001, Westfield Holdings Limited, with shopping centre assets under management valued at $24.5 billion, announced an after-tax profit for the year to 30th June, 2001, of $169.1 million, up 14.0% on last year's result. (source: www.westfield.com.au)
Westfield's massive profits must be measured against the modest income of retail workers, especially working mothers and young women in the industry who rely upon travelling to work by car. The real agenda is to make those who work in the shopping centre pay a fee to park their car. These are the very people who serve the customers in the shops. They are the same people who help Westfield make their massive profits. This is a case of corporate greed gone wild. It is time for Council to lay this greedy application to rest once and for all.
The SDA will continue to lead the protest against Westfield's greedy paid parking application until it backs off permanently."
Last year, over 100 retail employees from Westfield Liverpool attended a Council meeting to vent their anger at Westfield's latest attempt to secure the "pay to work" scheme. The SDA anticipates that retail workers will once again gather in large numbers this Monday night, 27th August, 2001, to continue their protest when Liverpool Council once more considers Westfield's application.
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