Unions accuse govt of backing penalty rate cuts

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Unions accuse govt of backing penalty rate cuts

Unions want Employment Minister Eric Abetz to make submissions to the Productivity Commission and Fair Work Commission calling for protection of penalty rates and minimum wages.

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Unions want Employment Minister Eric Abetz to put his money where his mouth is and make submissions to the Productivity Commission and Fair Work Commission calling for protection of penalty rates and minimum wages.

ACTU President Ged Kearney said attempts by Minister Abetz to distance the government from a push by employers to cut penalty rates and the minimum wage was ludicrous.

Abetz was reported by the Financial Review as saying he was surprised when the Productivity Council announced its review would examine penalty rates and the minimum wage, suggesting  these decisions would be up to the Fair Work Commission to determine. 

The Productivity Commission has asked for submissions by mid-March and it will produce a draft report in July and final report by November.

Employers are pushing for the Coalition to take a comprehensive workplace policy to the next election – including a penalty rates review.

Unions don’t believe it


“On one hand Eric Abetz is saying the government won’t use the Productivity Commission inquiry into workplace relations to cut penalty rates and the minimum wage, but on the other Tony Abbott is blaming penalty rates for his hotel restaurant being closed on a Sunday – which was later discovered to be untrue,” said Kearney.

“The fact is the Abbott Government is doing everything it can to support employers going after penalty rates and wages under the Fair Work Commission’s review of award agreements.

“If Minister Abetz is serious about protecting wages, conditions and rights at work he should make submissions to the Productivity Commission and Fair Work Commission calling for that.”

Kearney said it was ludicrous for Eric Abetz to pretend he had workers’ best interests at heart.

“If the Liberal Government really has the best interests of workers at heart then it should abandon its cuts to the public service and the anti-worker laws it is trying to pass.”
 
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