Unions rally to defend penalties

September 24, 2015
Melbourne rally against employer attacks on Sunday penalty rates. Photo: United Voice Victoria

Unionists rallied in Melbourne on September 23 to defend penalty rates as employers, such as the Australian Hotels Association, demanded the Fair Work Commission cut weekend penalty rates.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is considering reducing Sunday penalty rates. Australian Industry Group CEO Innes Willox told 3AW on September 23 that there were concerns about penalty rates because they were a "cost to employment”.

“Sundays are not hugely different to any other day, but there still should be a reward for working weekends”, said Willox. “Employers recognise that."

United Voice, which called the rally, was joined by contingents from the Construction, Mining and Energy Union, the the Australasian Meat Industry Employees Union and the Victorian Health Professionals Association. .

Jess Walsh from United Voice said: “Hospitality workers are making about half the average Australian wage. Hospitality workers are some of the lowest paid in the country. Many work both weekdays and weekends and are still paid below minimum wage. This is an attack on people who work every day and need penalty rates to make ends meet. They need to be compensated for losing time with their families.”

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