Liberal-Backed Penalty Rate Cuts Hurt Vulnerable Workers

The Andrews Labor Government is disappointed the Federal Court has upheld the Fair Work Commission’s decision to cut penalty rates for hospitality, retail and fast-food workers.

The decision will impact some of Victoria’s most vulnerable, low-paid workers including young workers, women and those in regional areas.

The cut to penalty rates is only occurring because there has been a lack of leadership shown by the Federal Liberal Government in defending workers.

Their Victorian Liberal counterparts are no better, with Deputy Leader David Hodgett backing the cuts when they were announced. Earlier this year, Mr Hodgett said: “I support the Federal Government’s changes to penalty rates…I don’t have a concern with changes to penalty rates.”

In contrast, the Labor Government made a submission to the FWC review strongly opposing any change to penalty rates.

The Minister also lodged the Victorian Government Submission to the Senate Education and Employment References Committee inquiry into penalty rates.

In Victoria, an estimated 80,000 retail workers and almost 70,000 hospitality workers are award-reliant.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Industrial Relations Natalie Hutchins

“Defending workers’ penalty rates is clearly a job for the Federal Parliament and we have seen zero leadership from the Turnbull Government or their Victorian Liberal counterparts.”

“The Andrews Labor Government will always stand up for our lowest-paid workers and we will continue to oppose these unfair penalty rate cuts.”

“Workers should be fairly compensated for working nights and weekends – time away from their family and loved ones – with adequate pay and conditions.”