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Workers in South East to lose when penalty rates cut

May 25, 2017

A new report into penalty rates has found that workers in the South East will be among those who will lose millions of dollars from their pay packets when weekend penalty rates are cut in July.

SA Unions State Secretary Joe Szakacs (pron sock-arch) says the report, by the McKell Institute, shows that people in the regions will be hit hard by penalty rates cuts.

“The report found that 6,747 people working in the Federal seat of Barker, which covers the area from the South East, Riverland and up to the Barossa, will lose $16.6m in wages when the penalty rates cuts come into force.

“And the tragedy is that most of that money - 40% of it – or $6.7m – will leave local communities because the businesses making the “savings” are not locally owned.

“Wage cuts for these South Australians will flow to national and multinational companies, not local communities.”

Cuts to Sunday penalty rates are due to come into effect on July 1, following a Fair Work Commission decision in March.

But Mr Szakacs says the cuts to workers’ wages can still be stopped.

“The Prime Minister has the power to stop these cuts and we urge him to act before the wage cuts come into force.

“We know that people in regional South Australia are already doing it tough, with cuts to services, low wages growth and higher unemployment than people in the cities, especially among young people.

“Our regions have a higher proportion of retail and hospitality workers than the city and they generally already earn less that people doing the same work in the cities.

‘We are urging the Member for Barker Tony Pasin to vote against these cuts to penalty rates when the Bill comes before Federal Parliament.

“He will have to choose: will he put the take home pay of locals first?”