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Retail workers in Ontario rally to save stat holidays

Staff Writer |
On Thursday, June 14, a delegation of workers, including Unifor activists from Local 414 will hold a rally calling on the Peel Region council to keep the existing Holiday Shopping bylaw.

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"Retail workers deserve decent work and that should include both a living wage and the ability to enjoy holidays like other workers," said Naureen Rizvi, Unifor Ontario Regional Director.

"That's why Unifor is calling on the Peel Region Council to maintain the existing bylaw where retail workers can rely on nine statutory holidays being guaranteed days of rest."

In Ontario, the Retail Business Holidays Act (RBHA) says there are nine recognized statutory holidays when stores, with a few exceptions, must remain closed.

Following Toronto's city council, which decided against changing the bylaw, and the York Region council which accepted the bylaw change, the Peel municipal council is considering amending its bylaw to allow stores to open during all statutory holidays except for December 25.

The issue will be on the agenda for councillors to discuss immediately following a rally that Unifor has organized.

The union has been lobbying for several years at the municipal level to ensure that Ontario retail workers are not forced to accept extra work days that will cut into valuable time with families.

The community rally is just one of many actions that Unifor has organized to ensure that retailers remain closed on New Year's Day, Family Day, Good Friday, Easter Sunday, Victoria Day, Canada Day, Labour Day, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.

"Retail workers feel pressured to accept shifts during statutory holidays," said Deb Henry, member of Local 414. "Stores should remain closed on the holidays to allow us our well-deserved days of rest."

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