Federal Court decision sparks wage cut fears for Queensland workers

Hundreds of thousands of Queensland workers are fearful they’re next for a wage cut after today’s Federal Court decision not to overturn the Fair Work Commission’s to cut weekend and public holiday penalty rates.

Queensland Council of Unions General Secretary Ros McLennan said today represented a missed opportunity for the federal court to right a wrong.

“This case was important – it was the opportunity for the court to fix a bad decision. Their failure to do that demonstrates that the system is broken,” she said.

She said workers in other industry sectors were concerned that employers would see today’s decision as the green light to cut pay.

“Will a pay cut in hospitality and retail lead to attempts to slash pay in other sectors,” she said.

“We are already seeing the clubs industry try to jump on this cut, who’s next? Nurses? Firefighters?

“A wage cut for those who work on public holidays will only increase that gap between income and the cost of living,” she said.

“The Turnbull federal government continues to ignore the growing inequality in Australia, where wages growth has flat lined at just 0.9 per cent annually but business profits are up by a record 40 per cent.

“Cutting penalty rates is a pay cut that working Australians cannot afford and do not deserve.

“People have never felt less secure in their employment, the share of national income going to workers continues to decline,” said Ms McLennan.

“The richest 1 per cent of Australians owns more wealth than the bottom 70 per cent of Australians, and under the LNP, inequality is at a 70-year high.

“The decision to cut penalty rates was signed, sealed and delivered by the Turnbull federal government, and we lay the blame for increasing inequality in Australia directly at their door,” she said.