It will be the biggest pay cut in the country’s history, and it will hit poorly paid workers, in casual and unstable employment, the hardest.
So what is this Great Big New Cut?
If the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) gets its way, penalty rates will be on the chopping block. Recently, having teamed up with The Daily Telegraph, they’ve launched a new campaign, oxymoronically entitled ‘Small Business: Too Big To Ignore’. First on the group’s hit-list are penalty rates; the extra money workers receive for coming in to work when everyone else is relaxing and expressly do not want to work. The group claims penalty rates are “killing jobs” and “crushing small business”. They have openly and without any embarrassment suggested they be cut, the result of which would be a massive hit to the take home pay of hundreds of thousands of Australians.
It’s a familiar cry from the small business lobby, whose members seem perpetually on the brink of economic collapse, and while they can’t afford to pay some of our lowest paid workers properly, a slick and mass-marketed lobbying campaign is apparently well within their budget. And it’s a good thing too, because it’s a tough sell they’ve taken on.
The hard to euphemise truth and what the small business lobby doesn’t want to say is this: We want to cut costs and make more money. The easiest way we can think of to do that is cut wages by 30, 50 or even 80 per cent. Not... Continue Reading