dglobalnews.com Weatherill hits out at penalty rate cut
Published: Sat, February 25, 2017
Culture&Arts | By Orlando Mckenzie

Weatherill hits out at penalty rate cut

The Fair Work Commission decision to cut Sunday penalty rates will hit Australia's lowest paid the hardest, according to unions.

"I'm certainly not into exploiting workers, we reward our staff", she said.

The pharmacists' union, Professional Pharmacists Australia, has slammed the Fair Work Commission's decision on Thursday that it would slash penalty rates.

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A re-elected Barnett Government would push to have Sunday penalty rates for some workers slashed, in exchange for a higher base rate on other days.

"This is an attack on people who already struggle to survive and for whom penalty rates make an important difference from week to week", the society's National Council CEO, Dr John Falzon, said.

As things stand, Geoff Bannister owner of two Mug Life cafes in Potts Point and Pyrmont which specializes in selling a range of doughnuts known as Dr Dough Donuts has to pay his cafe workers 150 per cent penalty rates on Sunday.

"There is no evidence to support the claim that some small businesses would cut Sunday prices, but rather there's evidence against that", Professor Peetz said.

"Why is it fair for people to work on Sunday and not be giving their penalties?"

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"It's ironic that people on hundreds of thousands of dollars a year who work at the commission are making decisions that affect the poorest workers", he said.

Staff who once received 200 percent of their standard hourly rate on Sundays, will now take home less money for working these unsociable hours.

Unsurprisingly, the move to reduce Sunday and public holiday penalties for those working in the retail, fast-food and hospitality industries has not been well received by the employees themselves.

"Today people expect to be able to shop, buy a meal or a drink at all hours of the day, while large numbers of workers actually prefer to work outside a "9 to 5" weekday regime because it suits their lifestyle, studies or family circumstances. The decision of the Fair Work Commission is not good for workers and ultimately we do not believe it is good for business either", Gallagher says.

"There has been many stores, both chain and independents, that have folded of late, so hopefully this decision will stem these ongoing losses and help Australian retailers better compete against the onslaught of competition such as Amazon", he said.

The commission said the cuts would lead to increased services and trading hours on public holidays and Sundays.

Australian Hotels Association CEO Stephen Ferguson said the AHA supports workers being remunerated extra for working on weekends and public holidays.

Kiejda added that the decision had wound back decades of progression in workers' rights and threatened the livelihoods of those who need it most.

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