Recent discussions surrounding shopping regulations too often ignore the additional protection brought in for many workers in the retail sector. In July, the government proclaimed amendments to the Labour Standards Code that protected workers in retail businesses that historically have been closed by law on uniform closing days — essentially Sundays and holidays. The most notable effect of that legislation was that grocers operating a retail sales area greater than 4,000 square feet must offer their employees the right to refuse to work on Sundays and holidays. However, it also applies to some other retailers. That has not changed one iota. I know that recently there has been particular concern about Boxing Day. It is widely anticipated that retailers will open this Boxing Day, as they do in most other provinces, and workers fear they will be forced to work on a day they have traditionally spent with their families. The Labour Standards Code and related legislation are complex — because the workplace is complex — but I can say in general that protections are in place for these workers. With very few exceptions, retail workers who have not previously had to work on uniform closing days have a right to refuse to work on those days. If they have already been scheduled to work a uniform closing day, they need only provide seven days’ notice to their employer of their decision to refuse. That includes Boxing Day. Retail workers who have the right to refuse to work are protected against retaliation and can be ordered reinstated with back pay if their employment is terminated or reduced because they refuse. That said, I would add that the Department of Environment and Labour has not received any such complaints to date, although we encourage workers who feel they are being treated unfairly to contact us. With the exception of Remembrance Day, Nova Scotia has moved to a system where the market will decide what stores are open and when. It is important that employees and employers understand the rules. If you have questions or complaints, please contact the Labour Standards Division of the Department of Environment and Labour at 424-4311, or toll-free at 888-315-0110. -30- NOTE TO EDITORS: The following is an op-ed piece by Mark Parent,Minister of Environment and Labour.
Neemuch: In all seven prisoners, including two convicted for smuggling drugs and others facing trials in murder and rape cases, escaped from jails in two states – Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, police said. As per preliminary investigation, the four prisoners – Nar Singh (20), Pankaj Mongia (21) (both from Rajasthan), and Lekh Ram (29) and Dubey Lal (19) – cut the iron rod of their barrack at the sub-jail located in Kanavati area, just about 5 km from the district headquarters. They then threw a rope across the 22-feet-tall boundary wall of the jail, climbed it with the help of some outside support and sneaked out of the prison compound, jailor R P Vasunai said. Singh, hailing from Udaipur, and Mongia, belonging to Chittor, were earlier convicted under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act and facing different imprisonments. Ram, a native of neighbouring Mandsaur district in MP, was being tried in a case of loot and murder, while Lal, a resident of the state’s Mandla district, was facing trial in a rape case, Vasunai said. State Director General (Prisons) Sanjay Choudhary declared a bounty of Rs 50,000 on each of the four. Top district officials reached the prison to probe the incident. MP Police has stepped up security in areas bordering Rajasthan, the official said, adding efforts were on to trace the four prisoners. In a seperate incident, three convicts in separate rape cases escaped from the Jhalawar district jail in Rajasthan, police said on Sunday. However, one of the three, all of whom are residents of Jhalawar district, was later traced, they said. The incident took place on Saturday morning when Balmukund Rathore (34) of Dug town, Dinesh Parjapati (25) of Moriyakhedi village and Sohan Kumar Suthar (27) of Pidawa town jumped over the 18-foot-high wall using blankets they brought from the barracks, Deputy Superintendent of Jhalawar district jail Rajpal Singh said. The escape only came to notice during the evening roll call, he said, adding that the inmates have not been traced yet. Four search teams have been sent at various locations including Madhya Pradesh. Other inmates are being inquired so that they may provide details, if any, regarding the discussion among the convicts before they escaped.