Greens will legislate to save penalty rates and seek Labor & crossbench support: Bandt

Following the Fair Work Commission's decision today to cut Sunday and public holiday penalty rates for workers in the retail, fast food, hospitality and pharmacies, Greens Industrial Relations spokesperson Adam Bandt MP today said the Greens will move in Parliament to stop today's cuts from coming into effect and protect penalty rates from future cuts.

Mr Bandt called on Bill Shorten and Labor and other crossbenchers to join the Greens in legislating to protect the weekend and public holidays by restoring people's penalty rates and protecting them from future cuts.

"This is a body blow to the hundreds of thousands of people who depend on penalty rates to make ends meet," Mr Bandt said.

"This cut in penalty rates is a cut in people's wages and it will hit young people especially hard. At a time when we are experiencing record low wages growth, more people than ever depend on penalty rates to pay rent and bills."

“If you work shifts on Sundays or public holidays to help pay the rent or support you through your study, this cut will hurt.”

“Coffees won’t get any cheaper on Sundays but young people will find it harder to pay the rent.”

"Penalty rates aren't a bonus, they're a core part of our rights at work. Weekend and public holiday penalty rates compensate people working unsociable hours to keep our community running while the rest of us spend time with our loved ones."

Ahead of the 2016 Federal Election, the Greens committed to moving to protect people's existing penalty rates in legislation. Bill Shorten only said Labor will write a letter to the Commission in support of penalty rates, but Labor has since said it would allow penalty rates to be cut as long as workers are not left worse off.

"This decision to cut penalty rates in the retail and hospitality industry will only embolden lobbyists who will now have the penalty rates of people working in other industries in their sights."

"The Greens will move to protect the weekend and public holidays by stopping today's cuts from coming into effect and protecting penalty rates in law from future cuts."

“No more weasel words about people somehow being ‘compensated’ for penalty rate cuts.”

"Labor and the crossbenchers have a decision to make: will they side with the Liberals and stand by as people's penalty rates are cut, or will they join the Greens to protect people's penalty rates in law?"

Media contact: Adam Pulford, 0429 109 054

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