By Andy Young

The hospitality union, United Voice, is trying to delay the Fair Work Commission’s (FWC) cuts to penalty rates so that it can appeal the decision in the Federal Court.

The union said it is putting employers and the government on notice that it “does not and cannot accept the decision”. United Voice added that it has asked the FWC to immediately conclude the penalty rates matter and that the cuts be subject to a 30 day delay, so it can file its appeal.

Jo-anne Schofield, National Secretary of United Voice, said: “We are taking these steps to defend and improve the living standards of working people. We are standing up for hospitality workers who are unfairly impacted by this decision. And in doing so, we are standing up for all workers in this country. 

“The Commission itself acknowledges that this decision will have a negative impact on some of the lowest paid workers in this country. 

“Put simply, we cannot turn away and accept a decision that impacts so dramatically on our members and, potentially, on all workers. The decision must be challenged. This is a cut hospitality workers can’t afford and don’t deserve”.

United Voice has said that the basis for its appeal is that the FWC “has failed in its responsibility to properly consider the living standards and the impact that this decision will have on people who are already some of the lowest paid workers in the country. It will also relate to the Commission’s jurisdiction”. 

In February the FWC announced that it was cutting the penalty rates for hospitality and retail workers. 

In the hospitality award the penalty rate for full-time and part-time employees, will be reduced from 175 to 150 per cent. There will be no change to the Sunday rate for casuals, which will remain at 175 per cent.

In the retail award the Sunday penalty rate for full-time and part-time employees will be reduced from 200 to 150 per cent, the Sunday rate for casuals will be reduced from 200 to 175 per cent

At the time the FWC’s President, Iain Ross, said: “We have decided that the existing Sunday penalty rates in the hospitality, fast food, retail and pharmacy awards do not achieve the modern awards objective as they do not provide a fair and relevant minimum safety net.”

The union said it anticipated that the appeal could have flow on affects to all awards impacted by the FWC’s decision.

The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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