Chilly response to Coalition plan to cut penalty rates

Pre-Ekka research shows the federal Coalition will feel the cold wind of public opinion if it continues to back the business lobby campaign to cut penalty rates for workers.

penaltyratesresearch.jpgQueensland Council of Unions President John Battams says perennial calls of business and the LNP to cut penalty rates had little support in the wider community.

A Productivity Commission draft report into penalty rates and workplace reform is due to be handed down in early August.

“If the Coalition thinks the wind gets cold at the Ekka, they had better rug up for the reaction from voters if they oversee cutting of penalty rates for workers,” Mr Battams said.

Essential Research shows 81 per cent of Australians think that people who are required to work outside of normal hours should receive a higher hourly rate of pay.

“It shows the overwhelming majority of Australians support payment of penalty rates to employees working unsociable hours. That figure has not wavered over the past few years despite a concerted Coalition-backed campaign to cut penalty rates for low paid workers,” Mr Battams said.

 “Every year around Easter and the Ekka the business lobby claims that penalty rates are keeping them from opening on these public holidays.”

Mr Battams said the Essential Research showed only 20 per cent of respondents believed that businesses would take on more employees if penalty rates were cut.

“The public doesn’t believe the government and business on this issue,” Mr Battams said.

“Recently, the federal government Small Business Minister said that businesses needed to keep their doors open to make customers happy.

“The facts show that the restaurant and catering sector is one of our fastest-growing industries.

“Business owners in this sector should know that there are many factors that contribute to success, and ensuring their staff are happy that they are fairly compensated for working unsociable hours is just one of those factors,” he said.

“It would be a real concern for the thousands of Queenslanders working long hours and after hours at the Ekka that next year they may not be compensated for having to work late at night and on the weekend.”

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