Currently, there is major attack on penalty rates for Sunday work and for work on public holidays in the retail, fast food and hospitality industries.
This is not the first attack on penalty rates the SDA has faced.
The SDA faced a major attack on penalty rates in the retail industry in 2012.
We strongly opposed any reduction in penalty rates. We engaged an industrial barrister and expert witness evidence to defend penalty rates, and successfully defended our penalty rates after a long and extensive case.
On that occasion, the Labor Government made a submission supporting penalty rates.
But this occasion is different. The Federal Government is involved against us.
WORKING AGAINST US
The current Federal Government has given enormous assistance to employers’ groups in the attack on penalty rates in the retail, fast food and hospitality industries.
The Federal Government referred the matter of penalty rates to a review by the Productivity Commission after numerous calls by Liberal Members of Parliament for the reduction or abolition of penalty rates.
The Productivity Commission is a right-wing deregulationist body which is always in favour of deregulation of everything. It has no expertise whatsoever in industrial relations.
All experienced industrial observers expected it to recommend a reduction in penalty rates.
That is exactly what happened – to the pleasure of many in the Liberal Party.
The Productivity Commission predictably recommended a reduction in the Sunday penalty rate to time-and-a-quarter.
ONE RULE FOR SOME, A DIFFERENT RULE FOR OTHERS
This is a major attack on the take-home pay of lower-paid workers and would be devastating for many SDA members.
The Chairman of the Productivity Commission receives remuneration of more than $500,000.
He is telling workers on $37,000 a year that they need to take a wage cut.
Predictably, the employers tabled the report of the Productivity Commission in the Fair Work Commission in the hearing on penalty rates arguing that it was somehow “expert evidence” which supported the cutting of penalty rates.
This report, which was produced at the insistence of the Liberal Party, has now been used to attack our penalty rates.
This was always the intent. It was always intended by the Liberal Party to be an avenue to attack the penalty rates and take-home pay of our members.
Once again, we have engaged an industrial barrister and led expert witness evidence to defend Sunday and public holiday penalty rates from the attack launched by the Liberal Party combining with the employers.
After a lengthy case, the hearing is concluded and we are awaiting a decision.
SDA members should be aware that the Federal Liberal Government is not on your side. It is on the side of employers who want to slash your penalty rates and take-home pay.
LIBERAL AND NATIONAL PARTY MEMBERS ATTACKING PENALTY RATES...
Here are where Government MPs stand on the issue of weekend penalty rates.
These MPs have expressed support for cutting penalty rates:
34 Coalition MPs on the record against penalty rates:
“LABOR IN GOVERNMENT WILL INTERVENE IN PROCEEDINGS TO MAKE A FURTHER SUBMISSION TO THE FAIR WORK COMMISSION (FWC), IN FAVOUR OF RETAINING PENALTY RATES.”
For more information on Labor’s penalty rates policy, go to 100positivepolicies.org.au/protect_weekend_penalty_rates