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Unions vow to fight penalty rates decision

February 23, 2017

SA Unions says it will now push to get penalty rates made law after the Fair Work Commission handed down its recommendation today that working Australians should have their penalty rates cut.

State Secretary, Joe Szakacs says the decision is a huge blow to the 100,000 South Australians who are paid under award conditions in hospitality, retail and food services.

"Our hearts go out today to workers in retail, hospitality and fast food who will be doing the same work for less money."

"And our hearts especially go out to working women, who are the majority of the workforce in these industries - retail is the second largest employer of women nationally and of women aged under twenty-five."

"The decision today means a worker in these industries stands to lose as much as $6,000 a year from their pay packets."

"Fair Work President, Ian Ross admits that many of these employees 'earned just enough to cover weekly living expenses', so how on earth does he expect them to survive now?"

"We call on Malcolm Turnbull and all political parties to immediately act to protect working people from any cuts to their take home pay, as the cuts are due to come into effect on 1 July, 2017."

"We are gob smacked that at a time when wages growth is at a record low, and when the Reserve Bank is warning about a slowing economy, that Fair Work Australia, the Federal Government and employer groups think this is a good time to take more money out of the economy."

"There are millions of Australians who cannot afford the sudden pay cut that would come with having their penalty rates and wages cut.  South Australians who work these shifts aren't doing it for a little extra 'pocket money' - the money they earn for working these unsociable hours is used to pay mortgages, support families and pay bills."

"The majority of Australians work Monday to Friday.  People who give up their rights and weekends, who miss out on family time, should be compensated for working those unsociable hours."

"Cutting penalty rates or the minimum wage isn't about boosting the economy - it's all about one thing, and that is about cutting people's pay."