In a blow to hospitality workers, the Fair Work Commission recently came to a majority decision to slash the penalty rates of casual Sunday workers on the level 1 and 2 Restaurant award by 20 per cent.
This will come into effect on July 1 with a 10 per cent loss to Sunday rates with a following 10 per cent cut on January 1.
However there was no effect on the 25% casual leave loading.
United Voice member and Hospitality staffer Gary says that the decision made by Fair Work Australia is very disappointing.
“It’s very disappointing because it starts a trend, where it is acceptable (to cut penalty rates),” he said.
“The most important events happen on weekends: birthdays, parties, christenings. You name it, it’s on a weekend.”
Gary said the idea of introducing penalty rates was to make it bearable for people to work on the weekends.
“Weekends are the busiest time in hospitality. If you’re working twice as hard why not get paid better money?”
Gary says it is important to be a part of a good union to safeguard rights at work.
“It is vital to have a strong union. You’ve got to protect yourself and that gives you the chance.”
United Voice WA Secretary Carolyn Smith said the decision was going to hit the most vulnerable and low paid workers who couldn’t afford to lose the extra wages.
“It’s an interesting decision because they have acknowledged that Sunday is a special day but they have then followed it up with cutting the wages of casuals on a level 1 and 2 restaurant award,” she said.
“This decision has opened the floodgates for penalty rate changes, we hope the Fair Work commission recognises these are low paid workers who depend on penalties to live.”