Sunday, 19 January 2014

Should We Have A 40 Degrees Rule At QVM?

After the pain and discomfort of 4 consecutive days of 40C+ traders are asking if QVM should have special provisions for trading in extreme heat. There are many ways that extreme heat impacts on traders. There is the debilitating effect of heat on our health,  the lack of business as our customers stay away,  and the impact on our stock and equipment.

Like many issues we face at QVM this is not an easy fix. There are just so many considerations. Customers have a right to expect market service even if they only turn up in small numbers. Not all traders would want to close the market on extreme heat days (as some have suggested). We understand that a number of traders did quite well over this week of heat records although that may be due more to reduced competition than anything else.

It has been suggested that 40C+ days should be free choice days, and that absence on those days should not come off leave entitlements. There is little doubt that more leave would not be favoured by management and balancing the needs of traders with the need of management to collect rent is an ongoing argument. But at least traders should have the choice of trading or not trading in extreme heat and, at the moment, SL traders don't have that choice because they are not allowed single day absences. There is an argument that all traders should be able to choose to take leave in extreme circumstances depending on their personal physical condition, the nature of their business, and their responsibilities to staff and family. This restriction on SL Traders needs to be changed.

There is another aspect of heat that needs to be addressed and it is particularly obvious under the sheds. We haven't yet documented temperatures under the tin roof but it is generally conceded that you can add another 3-5 degrees to the outside temperature on a hot day. Prahran, Dandenong, and South Melbourne markets all have cooling systems of some sort under their roofs. Like with our lighting, it would appear we have a lot of ground to make up just to meet minimum standards. 

19/01/2014 16:42:04 Heatwave "We traded every day and were pleasantly surprised with the take.  It seemed that there were only 10% - 15% of traders and very few visitors, however, those that braved the weather were there to shop, not kick the tyres." Terry Lawn (Airllywood)  

26/01/2014 10:30:53 Heat rule "I agree that we need a rule for the extreme heat. All industries are required under OH&S requirements to have something in place, to ensure the safety of those working. Yes we are all self employed, and therefor responsible for this ourselves, but in saying that, we are all on a license of some form, governed by the QVM PTY LTD, making the market responsible for implementing a rule. I agree that these days should be free days, in both rent, and leave entitlements. I did not work Thursday or Friday, and this was a personal choice, but not due to the heat, but the severe fire dangers predicted in my region. This was justified with several fires that burnt within a few km's of my house, and l was able to take necessary steps to protect my family and property. I would like to point out though, Neil Mitchell on 3AW was advising people the market was CLOSED due to the extreme heat, which was wrong."