penalty rate cut

The economic slow down means the Coalition will either abandon its promise of increasing budget surpluses and increase government spending — on infrastructure for instance — to stimulate the economy or it will double down on its commitment to a surplus, necessitating spending cuts. Its track record suggests the latter, writes Graham Mathews.

Much has been made of the fact that on June 23, the same day the Fair Work Commission slashed penalty rates for retail and hospitality workers, federal politicians were granted yet another pay rise.

Senate to investigate SDA deals

The giant Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees Association (SDA) will be subject to a parliamentary inquiry over wage deals that have cost workers hundreds of millions of dollars.

The Senate inquiry, initiated by Nick Xenophon and backed by the Greens, will examine claims that workers at retailers such as McDonald's, KFC and Coles are paid penalty rates under their SDA-negotiated enterprise agreements that are lower than the industry award.

An Essential poll released on March 7 found 56% of voters disapprove of the Fair Work Commission’s decision to cut penalty rates in the retail, hospitality, fast food and pharmacy industries, while 32% approve.

Asked what would be the result of the cuts, 57% said businesses would make bigger profits; only 24% thought more people would be employed.

On whether the government should legislate to protect penalty rates, 51% said yes while 31% said it should accept the decision.

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