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Penalty rates decision an attack on hard working shift workers

Fair Work Commission’s decision to reduce Sunday penalty rates for retail, fast food and hospitality workers is a bitter blow to household budgets, and the working rights of thousands of Australians.

Hospitality, restaurant, fast food, retail and pharmacy workers will have their Sunday penalty rates cut between 25% and 50%. Public holiday pay was also slashed by up to 25%.  This is a loss of up to $6,000 per year for some workers. No worker will be better off as a result of this decision.

Like you, we’re angry about this decision. Banks are announcing half year profits in the billions while wage growth is at record lows. Meanwhile, thousands of our members rely on penalty rates to put food on the table each week and the PM is talking about corporate tax cuts.

It’s just not right. We’re going to redouble our efforts to protect penalty rates.

When workers sign on to do these jobs, they know they will make significant sacrifices to work irregular hours.  Penalty rates are deserved compensation for working long, unsocial and often extreme shifts.

The ASU represents thousands of members working in customer service, airlines, transport and logistics, racing and other essential industries where penalty rates form a significant proportion of take home pay.  How long will it be before employers in industries outside retail, fast food and hospitality start demanding the same cuts?  How long before all penalty rates are at risk?

The ASU will never accept cuts to penalty rates for hard working ASU members, we will continue to fight to protect penalty rates and the take home pay of Australian workers.  So will the entire union movement.

We will demand that employers commit to Sunday penalty rates and we will take the fight to Canberra to protect penalty rates in law.  Government’s make laws and unless the government acts now to legislate to protect penalty rates, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull will be forever remembered as the prime minister who oversaw the cutting of the take home pay of almost one million of Australia’s lowest paid workers.

We need ASU members by our side in this fight. You can help us today by signing this petition

Let’s ramp up the fight to protect hard won penalty rates now.


23 February 2017


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