FIGHT – Unions expand front in battle to protect penalty rates

Unions continue their battle to protect penalty rates, as the first pay cuts start to bite into workers’ wages.

United Voice continues to campaign in the community clubs area, while Professionals Australia launched actions at cut price chemist chains to highlight the impact of wage cuts.

Many Queensland unions also spread the message at the recent Brisbane Ekka, with digital advertising across the 10-day event to galvanise public opposition to the unfair cuts.

The Ekka was particularly significant in the fight to protect penalty rates, as People’s Day on 16 August was South-East Queensland’s first major public holiday to be affected.

Workers employed on certain awards lost up to $70 from their pay because the Turnbull government had refused to stand up to protect incomes for low paid workers and their families.

Figures show that a casual Level 1 fast food employee under the award working an eight-hour shift today will lose more than $40, a casual retail shop assistant the same amount, while a retail store manager will have almost $50 cut from their pay.

Workers in the pharmacy sector are worst-hit. A casual pharmacy assistant will lose $40.16 from their pay packet, while a pharmacy manager cops a $71 pay cut.

At a federal level, unions have also been providing evidence to the Senate’s Education and Employment References Committee on the Fair Work Commission’s decision to cut penalty rates.

Meanwhile, unions continue to promote those businesses that have pledged NOT to cut penalty rates, and will continue to keep up the fight to protect penalty rates.

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