Friday, March 03, 2017

ACTU – Marginal Seats Expect Turnbull to Protect Penalty Rates

Voters in bellwether marginal seats expect Turnbull to legislate to protect penalty rates
3 March 2017

Voters in the key bellwether marginal electorates of Page, Dawson and Corangamite want Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to change the laws to protect penalty rates for all Australian workers.
A new ReachTEL poll conducted by the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) shows 62.4% of Australians disapprove of the decision to cut Sunday penalty rates, while 65.1% want the Federal Government to pass legislation to protect penalty rates.

The Fair Work Commission’s decision is clearly out of step with the community and is based on flimsy, self-serving evidence from employer groups. Australian Unions are calling on all political parties to legislate to protect penalty rates and make sure the lowest-paid workers in the country don’t face cuts to their take-home pay.

Key figures:

  • 65.1% think the Federal Government should change the law to protect penalty rates for all Australian workers
  • 61.5%  think the main effect of penalty rates will mean cuts to take-home pay
  • 62.4% disapprove of the Fair Work Commission’s decision to cut penalty rates
  • 66.4% think their local MP should support changes to the law to protect penalty rates
  • N.B. ReachTEL conducted a survey of 3,515 residents in a number of federal electorates, including Corangamite, Dawson, Page, and Leichhardt. The survey was conducted on the nights of the 27th and 28th of February 2017.

Quotes attributable to ACTU President Ged Kearney:

  • “Weekend workers rely on penalty rates to earn a living wage.  These poll results show politicians must act on behalf of the majority of voters and put new laws in place to protect take home pay of the lowest paid workers.”
  • “We are calling on the Government to change the law to protect penalty rates, because working people are struggling enough with real wages falling while big corporations have seen record profits. The Government should be investing in the workforce, not taking away their rights.” 
  • “While working Australians are grappling with rising living costs, big corporations and the Government are using their power to rewrite the rules and cut penalty rates.”
  • “Profits are up yet we are experiencing the slowest wage growth on record.  Further cuts to wages will just mean employers pocketing bigger profits while working people will have to go without basic essentials."

“The lowest paid workers in our communities rely on these wages for food and rent, and these are the workers we depend on to keep our shops and businesses open."

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