By Taylar Amonini
Bill Shorten has stepped into the good graces of Unions WA after declaring he will personally intervene if Australia’s Fair Work Commission cuts penalty rates on Sundays.
“The Liberal Party has said over and over again that they wouldn’t support penalty rates. That’s the important difference,” says United Voice Senior Vice-President, Carolyn Smith.
United Voice represents over 120,000 thousand West Australian workers in the hospitality, health and manufacturing industries who stand to be worst-affected if penalty rates are scrapped or reduced.
“The Labor Party has a much more consistent record on supporting the needs of people,” said Ms Smith.
Penalty rates has been one of the most politically sensitive issues in recent years and the Fair Work Commission is expected to make a decision on rates for Sunday work in July this year.
While employers demand a slash to Sunday penalty rates, workers and unions across the country are fighting back.
“Penalty rates is the difference between paying my bills and being able to pay my bills and supporting my everyday needs like petrol and work shoes,” says Freya Heathcote, a bottle shop manager from Murdoch.
“I think it’s a poor excuse for small businesses to say they can’t afford Sunday rates. I work in a small business and we can do it just fine. My boss comes in on Sundays for a reason.”
Currently, the Fair Work Commission endorses a higher pay rate when working weekends, public holidays, overtime, late night shifts and early morning shifts.
“Without penalty rates, we will all just go elsewhere to work. Who wants to work on Sundays instead of seeing their friends and family?” says delivery driver, Reice Bird of High Wycombe.