Government inquiry puts penalty rates at risk
A report from the federal government’s Productivity Commission has recommended cutting the penalty rates for around four million Australian workers.
IEUA-QNT Branch Secretary Terry Burke said penalty rates provide crucial income for low paid workers and any move to cut them would be disastrous for these employees and their families.
“The Commission has presented a report recommending a two-tiered wages system which would cut Sunday penalty rates for hospitality, entertainment and retail workers but leave these in place for health and emergency service workers.
“Such a move would only serve to increase inequity and financial disadvantage for those reliant on the additional income penalty rates provide.
“It is also designed to erode the hard won conditions fought for by Australian unions and their members and reinforces why being part of the collective remains essential to the protection of the working rights and conditions of all Australians,” Mr Burke said.
Queensland Council of Unions (QCU) President John Battams said Australia’s lowest paid workers would be worse off by hundreds of dollars a month if the federal government endorses the Commission’s recommendation.
“This two tiered system will create an underclass of working poor in Queensland and Australia.
“There is no evidence that cutting penalty rates will increase productivity or employment.
“However, it will definitely reduce the take-home pay of working families who can least afford it.
“Queenslanders and their unions in every sector have been campaigning in their local communities on this issue over the past two years, ever since the Abbott government bowed to big business demands to cut penalty rates," Mr Battams said.