What workers need to know about plastic bag bans

A ban on free single use plastic bags will be introduced in some states and select stores across Australia starting from June 2018. 

Customers will be required to either bring their own bags or purchase a reusable bag.

The SDA, the union for retail workers, is running a public campaign about what your rights are under the new changes and to remind customers that abusive or violent behaviour about the ban will not be tolerated. The SDA has worked to consult with employers to ensure your safety comes first when the new bans take effect.

This is a major change for many retail workers, here’s what you need to know.

 

When will single use plastic bags be banned?

From 20 June 2018:

All Woolworths stores ban single use plastic bags Australia-wide. This includes Woolworths Limited stores such as Big W.

From 1 July 2018:

Queensland Government ban single use plastic bags in stores across the state. 

Western Australian Government ban single use plastic bags in stores across the state.

All Coles stores ban single use plastic bags Australia-wide.

 

What are my rights under the new bag rules?

Overloading or heavy bags

It’s important to always follow safe work practices.

Don’t overload bags or lift heavy bags if it is unsafe to do so.

If a customer wants more in the bag, they can pack the extra items themselves or lift their own bag into the trolley.

 

Dirty and unhygienic bags

You have the right to refuse to handle a reusable bag if it is extremely dirty and unhygienic.

Packing a reusable bag shouldn’t be a health risk to you.

 

Abusive or violent behaviour from customers

You should not have to tolerate any abusive or violent customer behaviour about changes to the bag rules.

You have the right to a safe work environment and customers should not take out their frustrations about paying for a reusable bag on staff. Report any incidents of customer abuse or violence to your supervisor.

Abuse shouldn’t be in a day’s work. SDA members stand up for safer workplaces because No One Deserves A Serve. 

 

Further information:

Watch a brief video about your rights.

Sign up to support our campaign to stop abusive and violent behaviour from customers.

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