Yesterday, the SDA applied to raise the base rate of pay for retail, fast food and pharmacy workers covered by Awards by 10% in addition to the $45 increase sought by the ACTU.
The Liberal Government has now announced it will fight AGAINST our push to raise the wages of some of Australia’s lowest paid workers, who are facing cuts to Sunday penalty rates.
Read full story here: Daily Telegraph
In another out of touch move by the Liberals, their submission to the Annual Wage Review warned against ‘excessive’ increases to the minimum wage.
They have tried to justify their submission against raising the minimum wage because workers in the retail, fast food and pharmacy industries are women and young people from high-income households.
Their submission, defended by Senator Michaelia Cash this morning, is based on a ridiculous and inaccurate assumption that low-paid workers don’t need pay rises because they are ‘often found in high-income households’.
This is another blatant Liberal Lie. These are some of Australia’s lowest paid workers, many are already struggling to make ends meet and earning $30,000 or less per year. They are hard-working families, students, single parents doing it tough – not workers from ‘well-off’ families.
These workers are among 700,000 workers who are facing a pay cut of up to $2,000 every year if cuts to penalty rates go ahead.
They were denied an opportunity to negotiate for better pay and conditions and will be forced to take a pay cut they cannot afford if penalty rates are reduced because of the Fair Work Commission decision.
Penalty rates are not a luxury, they put food on the table, petrol in the car and pay for ever-increasing electricity and health bills.
It is unfair for Malcolm Turnbull to propose a $50 billion corporate tax cut, no doubt to the benefit of high income households, while at the very same time supporting cuts to penalty rates and trying to stop fair and necessary wage increases for almost 1 million low-paid Australian workers.
SDA Agreements have consistently negotiated higher base rates to compensate for any changes to penalty rates. If the Commission does not set aside their cuts to penalty rates, increasing the base hourly rate in the Award is the only way to protect take-home pay.
That’s why the SDA is pushing for significant increases to base rates pay for retail, fast food and pharmacy workers in the Annual Wage Review.
Listen to Employment Minister Senator Cash try to justify their failure to protect the wages of workers here: 3aw
The SDA is deeply disappointed by the Fair Work Commission’s decision to cut Sunday and public holiday penalty rates for retail and fast food workers covered by the Award.
We know the devastating impact this will have on thousands of workers who rely on penalty rates to make ends meet.
The vast majority of SDA members are covered by an SDA – negotiated Agreement which means that the Fair Work Commission’s decision will not immediately impact on these member’s take home pay.
However, it will make it more difficult to negotiate around penalty rates in new SDA – negotiated Agreements in the future. However, rest assured, the SDA will, as always, continue to protect your take-home pay and argue the importance of fair compensation for working on Sundays and public holidays when we sit down to negotiate a new Agreement with your employer.
For those on the General Retail Award, the SDA will continue to fight to protect your take-home pay. Our priority is to stand up for you and all workers impacted by this unfair decision.
With your support we have fought hard to protect penalty rates, signing up over 46,000 supporters across the country and making a strong case in the Commission.
Today’s decision to slash the take-home pay of hundreds of thousands of retail and fast food workers covered by the Award is a devastating outcome for working families across the country who will be losing more than $1 billion each year while not creating a single extra job.
Every full-time retail and fast-food worker covered by the Award who works weekends stands to lose $2,000 per year as a result of this decision.
At a time when wages growth is at a record low – Australian workers need a pay rise not a pay cut.
This is devastating for workers and their families – and Malcolm Turnbull and the Liberals are doing nothing to protect the take-home pay of workers.
It is an outrage that the Turnbull Government has sat on its hands as employer groups have fought to cut penalty rates – it can’t sit by and allow penalty rates to disappear.
We must remind them that a cut to penalty rates will hurt workers and their families.
Take action now and call on Malcolm Turnbull and the Liberal Party to protect Penalty Rates:-
- Email Malcolm Turnbull & Liberal Mp’s http://protectpenaltyrates.org.au/fwc/
- Sign up to the campaign www.protectpenaltyrates.org.au
All workers will be affected by this decision, now is the time to join our campaign and sign up a friend to the SDA too. The more members we have, the stronger we are when it comes to bargaining for better outcomes for all workers.
The SDA will continue to update members. We are here to provide you with advice and support. If you have any question, please call 63 318166 or 62 341118.
New policies are being introduced into many Australian workplaces which enable employees to be tested by their employer for drugs and alcohol. Testing often involves employees being randomly tested for drugs and alcohol in their workplace using breath, saliva and urine-based testing devices. The implementation of drug and alcohol testing policies in retail stores has the potential to impact on SDA members like you. These policies, if introduced in retail stores, may result in you being subject to an unfair, unreasonable and potentially unlawful testing regime in your workplace. If this is happening in your store, the SDA wants to know.
CONCERNED UNION MEMBERS
The SDA has been alerted by members concerned about the impact these new testing regimes may have on them. Following up on our members’ concerns, and worried about the potential implications that these new policies could have for the rights of retail employees, the SDA is keen to hear from any members who may already be aﬀected by drug and alcohol testing regimes.
WHAT THE SDA SAYS ABOUT TESTING RETAIL WORKERS FOR DRUGS AND ALCOHOL
The SDA maintains that it is unreasonable, inappropriate and potentially unlawful to test retail workers for drugs and alcohol. Recent decisions by the Fair Work Commission (FWC) reflect the SDA’s view that testing employees for drugs and alcohol should be confined to workplaces where workers are operating in high-risk, safety critical environments. The performance of construction work and the operation of heavy machinery are roles that can be classified as high-risk or safety critical. Workplace testing for drugs and alcohol is an intrusive procedure that should only be warranted where it is reasonable, appropriate and lawful. Testing should only be considered to minimise risks that impairment, due to drug and alcohol misuse, may pose in a high-risk, safety critical work environment. The SDA recognises that sometimes retail employees may be impaired at work due to misuse of drugs and alcohol, however, there are other ways of managing these incidents. There is no need for heavy-handed, intrusive and invasive testing regimes designed for high-risk work environments to apply to retail stores. Workplace testing for drugs and alcohol is not warranted in a retail environment.
SERIOUS CONCERNS WITH THE DRUG AND ALCOHOL POLICIES IN RETAIL
The SDA has a number of serious concerns in relation to how drugs and alcohol policies may impact on our members:
Drug and alcohol policies have been developed for higher-risk worksites where heavy machinery is in operation, not for employees working in lower-risk retail stores where these high-risk elements are absent. The SDA has not been provided with any evidence of safety issues or incidents in retail stores involving employees aﬀected by drugs and/or alcohol misuse. Employees who are subject to these kinds of policies are often required to disclose private and personal health information, including medication that they have been prescribed by qualified medical practitioners, which is not relevant to their work. Where testing of employees is undertaken, it is often not done appropriately and in line with best practice, that is by an independent, accredited testing agency. Employees’ private information, including non-negative test results, could potentially be held by their employer, without the employee knowing if this information is secure. Drug and alcohol testing policies are often introduced under the guise of promoting employee health, safety and wellbeing, however, they can be still applied by a company in a punitive way, which ultimately may result in an employee losing their job.
WE NEED YOUR HELP
The SDA is very concerned about the potential implications that drug and alcohol testing policies could have for the workplace rights of retail employees. The SDA is keen to hear from members who may already be subject to testing for drugs and alcohol in their workplace.
CONTACT THE SDA
If you are aware of alcohol and drug testing being conducted in your workplace please contact the SDA on 6331 8166.