Supermarket giant Woolworth could be facing over AUS$2.5 million in fines for breaching Anzac Day trading restrictions in New South Wales, Australia. Employees were reportedly allowed into stores early on Monday morning to receive deliveries and prepare seafood, chickens and bread for the 1pm opening.
Anzac Day being a restricted trading day, NSW law does not permit large supermarket chains to open for customers before 1pm; nevertheless, Woolworths allegedly dodged the rule and now risks up to AUS$11,000 for each store that breached it.
A spokesperson for the company told media that salaried managers performed their work voluntarily, in line with regulation. Even though the NSW Industrial Relations information only states that ‘shops cannot open for customers until after time’ and, in previous years, inspectors had allowed businesses to prepare for trade, retailers said that government enforced the 1pm opening time on Anzac Day this year.
Woolworths’ main rival Coles claimed that Woolworths had broken the law and questioned whether ‘volunteer’ staff had the necessary expertise to prepare food.