Sharon Bird and Stephen Jones today expressed their concern about the Fair Work Commission’s decision to slash weekend and public holiday penalty rates.


In late January, Bill Shorten announced that Labor would protect penalty rates if they came under attack and he re-affirmed this today.  Labor respects the independence of the Fair Work Commission but will not stand by and see this important protection watered down.

Sharon Bird said the decision by the Commission today will put even more pressure on families and be a big blow to young workers who are trying to earn an income while undertaking study or training.

“Families are already under pressure with stagnation in wages, rising costs and the casualisation of the workforce.  Workers in retail, hospitality and fast food workers should be fairly compensated for the time they spend away from their families on weekends and public holidays,” Sharon Bird said.

“What we need to remember is that ‘someone else’s worker is your customer’.  Slashing penalty rates means that workers will have less money to spend and will find it harder to make ends meet.

“Malcolm Turnbull’s position is very clear – massive tax cuts for the big end of town and massive wage cuts for workers.

Stephen Jones said that the decision would impact heavily on families in the Illawarra. 

“There are many workers in the Illawarra who will be affected by today’s decision.  This decision will be a huge hit on low to middle income families who rely on penalty rates to get by,” Stephen Jones said.

“This is devastating news for many workers and families in our region. 

"If the Fair Work Commission believes that Sundays are no longer special why don't they open on a Sunday?"