IR Bill won’t raise restaurant wages: Gillard

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IR Bill won’t raise restaurant wages: Gillard

IR Minister Julia Gillard has reassured restaurant owners that they will not be facing massive wage rises if the Government’s Fair Work Bill is passed, because the Bill has nothing to do with the modernising of awards.

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IR Minister Julia Gillard has reassured restaurant owners that they will not be facing massive wage rises if the Government’s Fair Work Bill is passed, because the Bill has nothing to do with the modernising of awards.
 
Employers in the industry have been voicing concerns that they will have to pay significant penalty rates at weekends and nights under the Governments new IR laws because restaurants and hotels have been linked in a draft modernised award.
 
Appearing on radio announcer Alan Jones' program this morning, Gillard said the passing of the IR laws would have no effect on the wages restaurant owners currently pay.
 
Terrified about penalty rates
 
Jones said he had ‘a bucketful of correspondence’, from people in restaurants terrified because penalty rates, overtime loadings, allowances, all these things are being built into their industry, which are built into the hotel industry.
 
He said the Modernised Hospitality Industry Bracket General Award 2010 says that restaurant and café workers will enjoy 25% penalty loadings for working on Saturday, 175% for Sunday work, 250% for public holidays and casuals get a 25% loading on top of that.
 
‘Now this is when, at weekends, restaurants do their business,’ Jones said.
 
‘How the hell are they going to survive in this climate with that extra impost?’
 
Gillard pointed out that the Fair Work Bill currently in the Senate does not deal with award modernisation.
 
Five- year transition period
 
‘Award modernisation is happening in a two-year process at the AIRC,’ she said.
 
‘The award that you refer to is a draft award. The Commission is still working on this process and this is a process where new awards don’t come into effect until 1January 2010 and then there’s a five-year transitional period.'
 
‘So I just want to say to all restaurant owners who might have read the newspapers and got terrified, if the Fair Work Bill goes through the Parliament this week, nothing changes about their award.'
 
‘Their award is in the process of being looked at in the Commission.’
 
Gillard acknowledged that ‘there is an issue here for restaurant owners that they are desperately concerned about’.
 
‘I met with their association a few weeks ago; we had some good discussions about some of the problems that this may cause for restaurant owners,’ she said.
 
Impact of draft award
 
‘I asked them to come back to me with some information about their members and about restaurants and about how this draft award would impact on those restaurants.
‘That information isn’t with me yet but they wrote to me again and said it would be with me very soon. When I’ve got all that information I’ll work with the association.'
 
‘The process is down at the Commission. There is plenty of time to keep working on this and nothing is going to change for the restaurant owners and their award if the Fair Work Bill goes through the Parliament this week.’
 
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