The Fair Work Commission decision to cut Sunday penalty rates for casual hospitality staff will reduce the pay of at least 40,000 low paid workers. The wage cut will predominantly affect workers who are young and female.
By Dean Roberts, Socialist Party
The full bench of the Commission ruled that casual loadings for work on Sundays be reduced from 175% to 150% effective from 1 July 2014. The reduction will be applied to employees classified as Introductory Level or in the Level 1 or 2 pay grades under the Restaurant Industry Award.
Business groups had claimed that they were unable to employ more staff on weekends due to the higher wages. In reality a number of larger hospitality businesses have made handsome profits in recent years despite paying penalties.
For many workers though this decision will have no affect as thousands of employers across Australia refuse to pay their staff the legal minimum wage, let alone penalties for working anti-social hours. ‘Cash under the table’ is rampant in the hospitality and retail industries.
Unions need to fight to get this decision reversed. At the same time there needs to be a concerted push to stamp out under Award payments. A campaign along these lines would encourage thousands of young people to join trade unions.