Australia’s 42,000 club workers are fearful that any week now they will be delivered news of a hefty penalty rate cut.
Clubs Australia will make its final argument to cut Saturday, Sunday and public holiday rates to the Fair Work Commission Full Bench in a Sydney hearing today. With the process then moving to deliberations, the decision that could have a devastating financial impact is just around the corner for stressed club workers.
Slashing penalty rates for weekend workers by 25 percentage points on a Saturday and Sunday would mean annual pay cuts for weekend workers of about $5000 annually.
Jo-anne Schofield, National Secretary of United Voice, the clubs union, says, “Good clubs should be about good food, good beer, good community values and good pay. Not substantial pay cuts for their workers.
“Club worker evidence to the Commission shows that weekend club workers are in the firing line for annual pay cuts of thousands of dollars.
“The reality is that club workers have long, unsociable shifts on weekends. Many clubs open early in the morning and are open until 1:00am or later. Clubs are at their busiest on the weekend. Penalty rates are to compensate for these sacrifices.
“How can an industry group that oversees a sector bringing in $12 billion a year think it is acceptable to slash the pay of a worker who works all weekend to make ends meet, by around $5000 a year? They have rejected clubs’ community values.
“It is fitting these matters be raised in the electorate of Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who has voted eight times in favour of cutting penalty rates for Australian workers.
“The Prime Minister supports cuts to penalty rates, and that leaves Australian club workers facing a pay cut they can’t afford and don’t deserve before Christmas.”
Laura Dymock, club worker says, “Today is an incredibly stressful day for clubs workers around the country as Clubs Australia makes its final argument to cut penalty rates. Workers on the Clubs Award are barely earning a living wage as it is. If penalty rates are cut by 25 percentage points, it just sinks away any hope of earning a living wage even further. So many club workers need to and choose to work weekend shifts for the penalty rates, just to make ends meet.”
Club worker evidence provided to the Fair Work Commission show that a Level 5 food beverage and gaming attendant working two 9 hour shifts on a weekend, will lose around $5000 annually. A Level 4 bar supervisor working 7 and a half hours on a Saturday will lose $40 a week, or $2000 a year.
The attempt to cut penalty rates has exposed a divide in clubs land, with 150 ‘good clubs’ writing to the Fair Work Commission to reject the Clubs Australia case. These good clubs are sticking up for their workers.