West Australian Opposition Leader Mark McGowan met with Crown delegates on Friday morning to throw his support behind hospitality and retail employees' campaign to keep their weekend rates.
Their meeting came after Mr McGowan wrote to the Fair Work Commission earlier this week to express WA Labor's opposition to any change to penalty rates in the awards under review.
"Penalty rates are a fair reward for working when the rest of the country is enjoying their rest or recreation. If we expect people to give up time with family and friends on public holidays, weekends and evenings, then we should compensate those people properly."
- WA Leader of the Opposition Mark McGowan, 17th of August 2016
Crown delegates who are currently bargaining with the casino were delighted to have the Opposition Leader pop in on their meeting.
Jed said it was nice to have a politician who actually understands penalty rates and the effect any changes to the current award would have on the community.
Antoinette added: "For Mark to not just put a submission in to Fair Work for the retention of penalty rates, but then to make time in his schedule to talk to us about it and listen to us - it was great.
"He understands the importance of penalty rates for us workers."
Mr McGowan's two page letter to the Fair Work Commission, sent on Wednesday, raised concerns about what effect on the community and workers', like those at Crown, a change to penalty rates would have.
The WA Labor leader told the delegates he understands that many workers who receive penalty rates rely on them to pay their everyday living costs.
He also said with WA's mining downturn the future economy will be built on the hard work of retail and hospitality workers.
Excerpt from Mr McGowan's letter:
"Hospitality and weekend workers are some of the lowest paid workers in Australia. Where these workers regularly receive penalty rates, they rely on them financially. Students, low income families and single parents would be the worst affected by any reduction in penalty rates. These people are already struggling to find a stable income, pay for childcare and still find the money to buy groceries and cover the cost of bills.
"We respectfully ask the Fair Work Commission to maintain the current penalty rates for weekend, night and public holiday work in the hospitality and retail sectors. Thank you for the opportunity to make a contribution to Fair Work Commission's review of penalty rates in the hospitality or retail awards."
You can read Mark McGowan's letter to the FWC in full here.
If you haven't yet signed up to support weekend rates, make sure you visit Save Our Weekend here.