Venkat Raman –
While the country’s largest shopping centre is a delight to residents and visitors, it is becoming a nightmare for hundreds of people serving them.
More than 300 staff employed in various retail shops at Sylvia Park in Auckland say that they are denied the facility of car park near their place of work – a charge denied by both the Management of the Shopping Centre and Secure Parking, which manages more than 3000 car park spaces within the sprawling complex.
The affected staffers allege that a new rule that came in to force a few months ago, precludes them from parking at spaces near their showrooms as these are meant for customers and that they have been allotted space far away or have been given the option of parking their cars at a facility on Carbine Road.
“This is unacceptable. Many of us have to walk long distance after long hours of work at night- on weekends after 9 pm – this is unsafe and people are living under fear,” they said.
An employee at a retail shop in the complex said that he was assaulted by two young men while walking towards his car on the night of January 6, 2017.
“I hit one of them in self-defense and complained to the Police. I understand that they were arrested shortly thereafter and that one of them is being charged. This place is not safe for workers,” he told Indian Newslink.
Another woman, who did not want to be named, said that she was constantly under stress during her pregnancy last year and that she was scared to walk alone in the night, especially on Thursdays and Fridays when the shopping hours were extended.
The petitioners said that Sylvia Park Shopping Centre was the best place to work before the new system of staff parking came into effect sometime last year.
Sylvia Park Centre Manager Lauren Riley said that safety of customers and staff was the most important consideration for Kiwi Property Group which owns and manages the complex.
“We take the safety of Sylvia Park staff very seriously. At the end of last year, we understood there were staff concerns so we introduced security to walk people from the Centre to the Carbine Road car park. From 9.30pm Thursday/Friday staff can meet security at the security office and they will walk groups of people to the car park. We encourage concerned staff to use this service that we have made available,” she said.
Read ‘Employees demand Car Park at shopping centre’ under Businesslink.
New Zealand’s largest shopping centre