Most workers cannot wait to get rid of this dreadful federal Coalition government. But fewer believe that a Bill Shorten-led Labor government will actually change the rules, writes Sue Bull.
Unions representing hospitality, retail and pharmacy workers have challenged the Fair Work Commission's decision to cut Sunday penalty rates in the Federal Court.
A full court of five judges heard the appeal over three days from September 26 against the Fair Work Commission’s decision that cut Sunday penalty rates for workers in the fast food, hospitality, retail and pharmacy sectors from July 1.
Townsville pizza delivery driver Casey Salt and the Retail and Fast Food Workers Union (RAFFWU) are taking Domino's to the Fair Work Commission (FWC) in the latest challenge to unfair agreements struck between big retail and fast food employers and the conservative Shop, Distributive & Allied Employees Association (SDA).
Salt will ask the FWC to terminate an exploitative agreement her employer made with the SDA that has left workers underpaid tens of millions of dollars
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.
The February 23 ruling by the so-called Fair Work Australia Commission to allow the slashing of weekend penalty rates for those working in the food and retail sector is a direct attack on some of the most vulnerable and underpaid workers in Australia.
Green Left Weekly’s Chris Jenkins spoke to Aaron Beardsell, WA state organiser of the newly formed Retail and Fast Food Workers Union (RAFFWU) about the new union and the challenges facing workers in their sector.
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The misnamed Fair Work Commission decided on February 23 to cut Sunday penalty rates. This will slash the take-home pay of about 700,000 workers in the retail, hospitality and fast food sectors by up to $6000 a year.
The commission will also reduce public holiday penalty rates for full-time and part-time workers in these industries.
Victorian Trades Hall Council and We Are Union called a snap action outside the Fair Work Commission in Melbourne just before the decision was announced.
Fast food workers, many of whom are young, have been left without a union fighting for decent wages and conditions.
On November 21, a new union — the Retail and Fast Food Workers Union (RAFFWU) — announced its formation. It is a rival in more ways than one to the conservative Shop, Distributive & Allied Employees Association (SDA).
The SDA, long led by Labor Party officials, has been at the centre of a national wages scandal in which 250,000 people are being paid less than the award by major employers including Coles, Woolworths, Hungry Jack’s, KFC and McDonalds
The Retail and Fast Food Workers Union (RAFFWU) was launched on November 21 to challenge the Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees’ Association (SDA) in the wake of several wage scandals.
RAFFWU secretary Josh Cullinan said enterprise agreements struck between major retailers and the SDA mean “every day retail and fast food workers have over one million dollars taken from their pay packets”.
Cullinan said the RAFFWU is determined to help these underpaid workers.