Enough is enough: campaign to save penalty rates continues
On 9 March IEUA-QNT members joined with thousands of concerned community and union members in Brisbane to protest the Fair Work Commission’s (FWC) decision to cut penalty rates.
The Brisbane rally was one of many held across the country in response to the unfair cuts to the pay of hard-working, low-paid Australians.
Hospitality, restaurant, fast food, retail and pharmacy workers will have their Sunday penalty rates cut between 25% and 50%, with public holiday pay being slashed by up to 25%.
IEUA-QNT Branch Secretary Terry Burke said our union would not stand for the unjust action taken by the FWC against workers, some of whom rely on penalty rates to afford the cost of living.
“Our union condemns the decision – a decision which is grossly out of touch with community expectations.
“All workers are entitled to fairness and dignity at work including rates of pay that adequately recognise their commitment — particularly those sacrificing time with their families to work on weekends.
“While our members are not personally affected by these cuts, many will have children, friends and relatives now facing a serious loss in their take home pay.
"Our members know full well the importance of the extra dollars provided by penalty rates with many having relied on penalty rates as they put themselves through university.
"It is also likely that many will have teenage children supplementing household income with jobs attracting penalty rates.
“The Federal Government has acted irresponsibility by not standing up for weekend workers and now we have an independent, Pauline Hanson, who has publicly supported the cuts – revealing just how little they care about Australian workers,” said Mr Burke.
Speaking at the rally, Queensland Council of Unions General Secretary Ros McLennan (pictured, above) said there was no evidence that reducing penalty rates results in increases to employment levels.
“There is absolutely no evidence that cutting workers’ take home pay and Sunday penalty rates would create one single extra job.
“But we do know that it would be much harder for many families to pay their bills and put food on the table,” she said.
Ms McLennan has said these cuts mean a potential loss of around $6,000 per year for hundreds of thousands of Queensland workers.
There are also concerns that the landmark FWC decision will lead to future penalty rate cuts for employees such as nursing and frontline emergency service workers.
The Australian Council of Trades Unions (ACTU) has launched an online petition calling on the federal parliament to intercede in this unfair decision.
Add your name to the petition and send a clear message that our community will not accept unfair wage cuts for some of the country's lowest paid workers.
To read QCU General Secretary Ros McLennan's latest opinion piece in the Brisbane Times regarding the penalty rates cuts, click here.