Penalty rate cuts a ‘slap in the face’ for Port Douglas workers


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One employee on Macrossan Street said workers should be be alarmed at penalty rate cuts considering the town relied on hospitality. IMAGE. Newsport.

THE decision to cut weekend penalty rates is a ‘slap in the face’ for hospitality and retail workers in Port Douglas.

Newsport spoke to staff at five prominent Port Douglas businesses this morning who all slammed the Fair Work Commission’s decision to reduce the hourly rate for workers on Sunday’s and public holidays.

They were unwilling to use their real names or employers over concerns it could affect their jobs.

“The only people who win here are the businesses, I don’t care how they spin it,” said Amy (not her real name), a 23 year-old- hospitality worker.

Upon announcing the decision, the Commission said reducing penalty rates across some sectors would allow small business to offer more employment opportunities. A story published by Newsport yesterday also featured a local restaurant employee and business owner saying the penalty cuts were fair.

But many local workers aren’t buying it.

Sarah, who works at a popular café in Port Douglas, said employees should be ‘up in arms over this’ considering the town relied on hospitality and retail.

“Hopefully it comes down to individual businesses and how they decide to roll,” she said.

“Australia is actually a place where you can work in hospitality and still make enough money to save a bit and travel.

“But if they keep cutting rates then that will change too. Sometimes I think they just want to push everyone into going to university, the rich get richer and the poor poorer.”

Chris, a leisure attendant in town, said the decision didn’t add up. “Housing affordability is climbing from hospitality workers reach,” she said.

“The government is run by bankers, we have a national wage growth at an all time low and increasing inflation. It is a slap in the face.”

Click here to see how the penalty rate cuts affect you

Karen, who works at a large resort, said ‘what is the incentive for me to work on a Sunday now?’

“I work in hospitality as a second job but it has to be worth my while,” she said.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has already indicated he will attempt to reject the the cuts made by the Commission, writing in a letter to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull ‘a decision not to intervene is a decision to endorse the proposed cuts to pay.”

Are penalty rate cuts fair or unfair? Let us know in the comments section below!

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