|Issue No 109||31 August 2001|
SDA Defeats 'Obscene' Westfield Parking Fees
The SDA has secured a significant victory in its ongoing campaign to defeat Westfield's bid to charge retail workers for parking at their workplace.
More than 100 centre staff packed Liverpool Council chambers on Monday night to cheer the unanimous Council rejection of Westfield's parking fee application.
The decision follows an 18 month campaign by the Union to defeat Westfield's development application to introduce a "nominal" daily parking fee for the centre's workers.
Council Unanimously Backs Retail Workers
In rejecting the fee, Council described the proposed staff parking fee as "obscene" and lacking common sense.
New South Wales SDA Branch Secretary Greg Donnelly congratulated Liverpool City Councillors for their fair and just decision.
"We are delighted at Council's decision. It was the only sensible choice available. The Councillors clearly recognised that the application was all about revenue and not safety.
It should send a clear message to Westfield. The wages of retail workers are not a bargaining chip to be traded for onsite security.
The Councillors have appreciated the folly of imposing parking fees on working mothers and young women, so prominent in our industry, who rely upon their vehicle for transport to and from work."
In an important development for the SDA's campaign, the Australian Retailers Association (ARA), representing retail employers, joined with the Union to recommend that Council reject Westfield's application.
Acknowledging the important support of the ARA, Mr Donnelly noted, "This confirms what the SDA has always said - only Westfield benefits from paid staff parking. The ARA is entitled to be concerned about the flow on effect to wages, Occupational Health and Safety and Workers Compensation.
The ARA has also identified the very real risk of "double dipping" where Westfield's tenants already pay for the provision of security as a term of their lease only for Westfield to seek to levy employees for the same service."
SDA Leads Groundswell Of Opposition
Identifying the important contribution of a coalition of interests, Mr Donnelly said today,
"The SDA is proud to have led a groundswell of workers, employers and community interests against this unnecessary application and calls on Westfield to respect Council's decision to the benefit of everyone and lay this matter to rest once and for all."
Hornsby and Burwood On The Radar
The decision not only protects the existing entitlement to free, safe parking for all retail workers at Westfield Liverpool but also provides a launching pad for the Union to resume its campaign in other affected centres.
The issue will hot up over the coming months as the SDA targets Westfield's Hornsby and Burwood shopping centres.
Mr Donnelly said today, "Our members continue to be unfairly targeted at other Westfield centres in the Sydney metropolitan area.
The stark injustice is clearly demonstrated at Burwood where customers are provided with free parking with any purchase whilst the workers, who often purchase their lunch, groceries and other goods and services at the centre, are whacked with a $4 fee every day they park at work.
The Liverpool decision is a stepping stone to securing free, safe parking for all retail workers."
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