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Issue #1875      July 3, 2019

Unjust cut

United Voice, the union for hospitality workers, has challenged Scott Morrison to hand back his $10,769 pay rise while 700,000 workers face a penalty rate cut. The new financial year brings hip pocket pain for workers in line for another penalty rate cut, delivering the full impact of the penalty rate cuts to workers in hospitality and fast food.

In comparison, Prime Minister Scott Morrison will see his pay go up by $11,000 on 1 July 2019.

This is the same day that hospitality workers are hit by the introduction of a third year of penalty rate cuts – totalling 25 percentage points cut from Sunday pay, adding up to a $2,000 a year loss for regular weekend workers.

Jo-anne Schofield, national secretary of United Voice says the penalty rate cut to be implemented in the new financial year for hospitality and fast food workers is harsh and unfair. “It’s an ongoing attack on workers who earn less than half of the average wage and who rely on penalty rates to pay for the essentials in life.

“We are calling on Scott Morrison to show his understanding of how hard it is for workers to meet increasing costs of living while their pay is cut, by foregoing this year’s $11,000 pay rise.

“Hospitality workers who rely on penalty rates have now endured cuts to their pay at the start of the financial years in 2017, 2018 and now 2019. And all in an environment of rising cost of living. Introducing the cuts incrementally over this period has not disguised the harshness of this decision.

“It’s inconceivable that in the new financial year the Prime Minister’s pay goes up by $11,000 and it goes down by $2,000 for workers doing the hard slog of hospitality work on the weekends.”

Schofiels said that these cuts have a significant financial impact; the penalty rate cuts add up to $1 billion each year being ripped out of the pay packets of workers in hospitality and retail. “United Voice will continue to fight for working people’s rights to secure jobs and fair pay. And we will continue to fight against unfair penalty rate cuts people don’t deserve and can’t afford.”

Research released by the McKell Institute in May revealed that Australian workers will lose $1 billion from the penalty rate cuts over the financial year. Furthermore, recent academic research revealed that across the two years of penalty rate cuts, no extra jobs have been created – and the evidence provided by employer groups to the Fair Work Commission of job outcomes was flawed and biased evidence.

United Voice continues to call on all employers to make the right decision ahead of the new financial year and to not to pass on this unjust cut.

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