Queensland unions say their submission to the Productivity Commission is part of the artillery facing the Abbott government over its attacks on penalty rates and the minimum wage.
The Queensland Council of Unions submission will be joined by a Queensland Palaszczuk government submission calling for the retention of penalty rates and minimum wage arrangements.
QCU President John Battams said unions would defend the right of more than 700,000 Queensland workers to receive penalty rates for working unsociable hours.
“These workers deserve to be compensated for their work serving us in restaurants, filling our prescriptions, caring for our sick and elderly, and ensuring our public safety.
“Over the past year we have conducted regional campaigns to make this a major pre-election issue in Cairns and Townsville.
“Popular support for the recent major day of action on March 4 should leave the Abbott federal government in no doubt what workers think about their attack on wages,” Mr Battams said.
Critics say the Abbott Government is using the Productivity Commission review to disguise its agenda to cut wage costs to please big business supporters.
Mr Battams said the QCU submission presented clear evidence to reject employer claims that cutting penalty rates would reduce unemployment.
“It’s clear that some of the employer claims would be counter-productive and lead to reduced economic activity and reduced living standards, which is an outcome no-one should encourage,” he said.
“Cutting weekend and penalty rates will strip $3.5 billion from the state’s economy.
“Workers are already tightening their belts, with ABS statistics showing annual wage growth falling to a 17-year low,” Mr Battams said.
“And wages growth in the accommodation and food services sector – where the business cheerleaders are at their loudest – is negligible in the most recent quarter.” he said.