United Voice is representing two casual hospitality workers who have applied to the Fair Work Commission to terminate hospitality business Merivale’s “zombie” enterprise agreement, made using the Howard Government’s “WorkChoices” legislation.
Jo-anne Schofield, National Secretary of United Voice, the hospitality union says: “The Merivale ‘zombie’ agreement has locked thousands of young workers into working for wages and conditions well below community and industry standards.
“Casual workers could be thousands of dollars a year worse off whilst working under this agreement, compared to working under 2018 Award rates.
“More than a decade on, WorkChoices ‘zombie’ agreements still exist and they continue to have a negative impact on workers. The Merivale agreement is just the latest example of a vehicle to exploit young people, giving the company an undeserved commercial advantage. We await the tribunal process with interest.
“This is a further example of a system that is broken. It is not right that a single worker has to take on their employer and apply to the Fair Work Commission so they will be paid according to the legislated minimum for their industry.”
The cases of two young workers who have made the application show they have been paid hourly rates up to half the hourly wages they should be entitled to under the award.
“Young workers are standing up for their rights, putting hospitality businesses across the country on notice that unfair and outdated workplace agreements can no longer be tolerated,” Ms Schofield said. “It is great to see young workers leading the charge for much-needed change in a notoriously difficult-to-police industry.”
A casual worker employed on the existing Merivale agreement is paid $24.46 per hour for casual work at any time of the day or week and $25.51 per hour on public holidays. Under the Hospitality Award, pay rates for this worker’s grading are $27.48 per hour for casual evening work Monday to Friday; $30.33 an hour on Saturdays; $35.39 an hour on Sundays; and $50.55 an hour on public holidays.
Another casual worker employed on the existing agreement is paid $23.66 an hour as a flat rate for all days of the week and $25.51 on public holidays. Under the Hospitality Award, the worker would be paid $24.34 an hour base rate, $26.54 for evening work Monday to Friday; $29.21 an hour on Saturdays: $34.07 an hour on Sundays; and $48.68 an hour on public holidays.