THE HON. BILL SHORTEN
LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION
MEMBER FOR MARIBYRNONG
THE HON BRENDAN O’CONNOR MP
SHADOW MINISTER FOR EMPLOYMENT AND WORKPLACE RELATIONS
SHADOW SPECIAL MINISTER OF STATE
MEMBER FOR GORTON
LABOR CONTINUES FIGHT AGAINST TURNBULL'S ATTACK ON PENALTY RATES
Labor today made a submission to the Fair Work Commission’s (FWC) Review of Penalty Rates in Modern Awards, arguing against cuts to penalty rates.
In our submission to the FWC review, Labor argues that penalty rates continue to be a fundamental part of a strong safety net for Australian workers, enabling those in low income and highly casualised industries to share in the nation’s economic prosperity.
Hospitality workers are in the bottom 30 per cent of Australian income earners. Along with hospitality and food services, retail has the largest proportion of low paid workers in Australia.
Women make up a disproportionate share of workers in both the retail and hospitality sectors accounting for 55 per cent of all those employed.
Mr Turnbull and his Government have made it clear they want to scrap the weekend penalty rates thousands of workers and families rely on to make ends meet.
He has famously declared the death of the weekend and has argued for a reduction in Sunday penalty rates, calling them an historic anomaly.
Labor understands that for these workers weekend penalty rates are not a luxury, they are what pays the bills and puts food on the table.
Labor supports workers' weekend penalty rates and will oppose Mr Turnbull's attempts to cut them.
The Abbott-Turnbull Government’s Productivity Commission review, which proposed a cut to Sunday penalty rates, was provided to the Fair Work Commission.
By increasing disposable income, penalty rates help to increase the competitiveness of the national economy and help to reduce inequality and the gender pay gap across the Australian community.
This at a time when inequality is at a 75 year high, living standards or real national disposable income per capita has fallen since September 2013, and we are facing the slowest wages growth since the 1990s.
If penalty rates are cut on the Abbott-Turnbull Government’s watch, Malcolm Turnbull and his Liberals are entirely to blame.
Labor’s submission makes clear what the community already knows – only Labor will defend workers from attacks on penalty rates.
MONDAY, 21 MARCH 2016