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Are penalty rates at risk under Abbott?

May 1, 2013News

Unions have demanded Opposition leader Tony Abbott outline his policy on penalty rates after he recently told a community forum that the rates were killing jobs in some industries.

Speaking in South Australia, Tony Abbott stopped short of saying he’d scrap the rates altogether, instead suggesting that he would support companies looking to go through the Fair Work Commission.

“First of all… workers pay and conditions are safe under the coalition,” Mr Abbott said.

“And second … we trust to the processes of the independent umpire to try to ensure that wages and conditions are properly set in a way that will maximise employment.

“That’s the way it is, that’s the way it should be, that’s the way it will be under us.”

Mr Abbott’s comments have raised serious concern among the government and unions.

ACTU president Ged Kearney said the coalition needed to be honest with workers about what it would do to penalty rates if elected.

“It is a huge concern for workers that Mr Abbott appears to be backing the big employer groups and their war on penalty rates,” she said.

“Removing penalty rates would be a pay cut for 500,000 workers.

“Working late night or weekends is still a sacrifice for workers, particularly those with families and penalty rates must remain to reflect this.

Workplace Relations Minister Bill Shorten said Mr Abbott had indicated “he could pressure the independent umpire to strip back penalty rates if in government”

“Tony Abbott must immediately rule out ever supporting employer claims to reduce penalty rates or undermine the pay and conditions of Australian workers,” he said.


2 Comments to “Are penalty rates at risk under Abbott?”

  • Unfortunately, many people are in a position financially where they need money coming in to keep them away from bankruptcy rather than living within their means. If Tony Abbot were to take away penalty rates, these people would still need to continue working their jobs just to keep their heads above water.

    The removal of penalty rates would be great for employers wishing to increase their profits. When you’re making a bucket load of money, why care about how those profits come about – it’s not like they are going to have to cut back on their basics of life.

    If penalty rates were abolished, I would hope that the Union movement would move towards no worker starting work before 6:00am and finishing after 5:00pm – penalty rates aren’t paid between those hours.

  • Phony Tony will say ANYTHING to get elected. He is a union hater and always will be. All he cares about is becoming the next PM.

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