The union movement has launched a campaign to defend penalty rates against the relentless attacks of employers, back by the Abbott government.
The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry announced in June it was launching a national campaign to cut Sunday penalty rates in a number of sectors.
ACTU Secretary Dave Oliver launched the union response in Townsville on 24 July. He was joined at the launch by local rugby league star, Brent Taylor, who plays centre for the North Townsville Cowboys.
“Nurses, police, ambos, firefighters, miners, retail and hospitality workers are among the hardworking Australians who sacrifice their weekends away from family and friends,” said Mr Oliver.
“They work nights and other unsociable hours and should be paid for that – but the Abbott Government is working hand in glove with business groups to cut penalty rates and lower take home pays.”
Legislation before the federal parliament is designed to strip current protections around individual flexibility agreements (IFAs) and make it easier for employers to force workers to give up penalty rates.
The Abbott government has also ordered a Productivity Commission inquiry into workplace laws that will allow employers to intensify their attack on penalty rates.
Mr Oliver urged Townsville residents to get behind the Save our Weekend campaign.
“Over the next four weeks, weekend workers including nurses, paramedics and fire fighters are going to be door knocking homes, holding rallies and community events to encourage people to support the campaign and protect the way of life unions have fought so hard for all Australians to enjoy,” said Mr Oliver.
The Save Our Weekends campaign will be rolled out in regional centres around the country.
CWU members can show their support for weekend rates by signing an online petition at: www.australianunions.org.au/weekend_rates