Cash called on to reject back-door plan to cut weekend penalty rates

Queensland unions have called on federal industrial relations minister Michaelia Cash to comprehensively reject back-door plans to remove unsociable and weekend hours from future Fair Work Commission deliberations on weekend penalty rates.

Queensland Council of Unions Assistant General Secretary Michael Clifford said the minister had not responded to questions raising workers’ concerns about the possibility of changing the FWC rules.

“The Abbott-Turnbull Government is pretending to have a neutral position on weekend penalty rates when it has actually instigated the Productivity Commission recommendations designed to make the removal of penalty rates easier. (see attached)

“Malcolm Turnbull has been saying that he will leave the issue of penalty rates for the independent umpire,” said Mr Clifford.

“They say they will leave it to the umpire but are they planning to change the rules under which the umpire must hear the matter?” he said.

“The current legislation (that was introduced by an amendment led by Opposition leader Bill Shorten) requires the Fair Work Commission to ‘take into account the need to provide additional remuneration for employees working overtime; unsocial, irregular or unpredictable hours; working on weekends or public holidays; or working shifts’ when reviewing awards.

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“The LNP and Mr Turnbull must come clean on whether they support Productivity Commission recommendations that justify the removal of this requirement to consider unsociable and weekend hours,” said Mr Clifford.

“Australian workers should be under no doubt that an Abbott-Turnbull Government will be doing whatever it can to allow big business to remove your penalty rates,” Mr Clifford said.

“The only way to protect penalty rates is to put the LNP last in both the House of Representatives and the Senate at the upcoming federal election on 2 July,” he said.

The PC recommendations that could give the LNP an opportunity to cut penalty rates.


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