Remove paid staff car-parking at Eastland Shopping Centre

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Since June 2016, after their major renovation, Eastland Management introduced paid parking for the centre. The first 3 hours are free, and then incrementally increase to up to $30 per day (7hrs or more).

Eastland staff members pay a flat discount rate of $4 per day.

For staff members working full time (5 days a week for 7hrs or more), this parking plan takes away around $1,040 of their yearly income. Part time staff who work 2-4 shifts a week lose $400-800 per year. Add this expense to all the other costs the average award rate retail employee pays each year (including rent/mortgages, petrol, food, power utilities, insurance, car registration, student fees and more), paying to park at work seems very unfair.

We shouldn’t have to pay to work.

Eastland financially benefits from making staff members pay parking fees. Eastland’s directory lists over 500 stores, operating 7 days a week which results in a huge workforce. We’ve been told that these parking rates were primarily introduced to deter train commuters from parking in the centre to increase premium customer parking. However, the current system unfairly targets staff members, who must park to work.

The flat rate of $4 per shift only applies if staff park in the staff allocated areas – to ensure that customers have access to premium parking. This seems reasonable, but staff have many concerns about it.

Official staff car parking is on the very top level of Eastland above the Ringwood town centre. It’s inconvenient and unsafe for staff to walk to. Access to lower levels comprise of a lift within the centre, and external access. This lift has specific operating hours. Some of our big retailers including Big W, Woolworths, Coles and Kmart have opening hours of 7am-9pm (or later). If you work outside of the lift’s operating hours – you must walk 4 flights of stairs, across a dimly lit car park to get to your car. Staff often feel unsafe when walking to their car. Women and young staff are particularly at risk, and there have been incidents of staff being mugged or approached in carparks.

During peak periods, these staff allocated car parks are open to the public to accommodate the overflow. Where are the staff expected to park at these times?

Staff car parking should be a safe secure area. One of our co-workers works 6am-3pm each Sunday. Recently the police came into work to inform her that her car had been stolen, crashed on Maroondah Hwy and dumped. It had been ‘safely’ parked it in the staff carpark that morning at 5:30am. She is still dealing with the backlash of not having a car for 2 weeks, dealing with insurance and trying to find money to buy a new car.

Eastland does provide free staff parking outside the centre on Bond St and Warrandyte Rd – but this parking is insufficient and frequently fill up with customers wishing to avoid paid parking, and Ringwood Station commuters. Staff often struggle to find parking in these areas and feel very unsafe walking between the carparks and the centre.

Let us remind you of a few facts

  • Staff car parking for full time staff costs more than $1000 per year
  • The staff carparks are inconvenient and unsafe to walk to
  • Staff carparks are not secure

Recently, Eastland Management informed staff members that if they don’t park in staff allocated areas, their parking fee will be hiked to $30 a day. During the day from 8am to 6pm, parking in staff areas seems entirely reasonable. But for those staff members who must arrive or leave during hours of darkness – this is an unsafe request.

To previous complaints, Eastland management has two answers:

  • Safety concerns – Just call security, they can walk you to your car. Our staff members have never had any issues
  • Fees for staff? – You’ll find that other shopping centres have staff parking fees and our rates are not unreasonable.

The security staff are wonderful, and we appreciate them greatly. But there have been instances where they simply haven’t answered the phone late at night..

Shopping centres need staff to function efficiently. We believe that happy staff create more positive shopping experiences for customers. We urge Eastland to remove paid parking for staff in favour of fairer workplace conditions.

What do we want?

Staff parking should be safe and secure.

It should be free, since our work serves Eastland and its customers

And finally,

Early and late workers should be allowed to park near their store during hours of darkness to increase staff safety without being penalised for moving their car to a non-staff allocated area.

 

Disclaimer
In creating and signing this petition, we do not represent our respective employers and speak only on behalf of ourselves. In supporting this petition, we support the right of all Eastland employees to fair workplace conditions.



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