Hospitality workers across Australia welcome media reports that Bill Shorten will promise in a speech on Wednesday evening that Labor will act in Parliament to protect penalty rates if the Fair Work Commission approves the employers’ application to cut their weekend pay.
It is reported Mr Shorten will move to change the rules around how the Commission sets penalty rates to ensure low paid workers will not be worse off if the Commission decides in favour of hospitality and retail employers in the penalty rates case.
Jo-anne Schofield, National Secretary of United Voice, the hospitality union, says “The consequences will be dire for many of Australia’s 800,000 hospitality workers if the Fair Work Commission rules against them in this case.
“Hospitality workers will lose as much as 30% of their incomes if employers get their way.
“That’s an appalling prospect for people who already earn half the national average wage of $1,516 per week and who spend most of their incomes on the necessities of life for themselves and their families.
“Labor’s promise strikes a chord with strongly held community values. Australians, regardless of their political affiliations, overwhelmingly support penalty rates.
“No person, let alone a low paid worker, should be in a position of having their income slashed because their employer wants bigger profits.
“We hope it does not come to it, but if it does, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull must act in line with the values of Australians and work with Bill Shorten on this issue,” says Jo-anne Schofield.
The Commission’s decision, which was anticipated late last year, has been delayed but is expected soon.