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The Fair Work Commission’s decision to maintain hairdressers’ weekend penalty rates was a belated recognition of the importance of weekend rates to low-paid workers, the National President of the United Workers Union, Jo Schofield, said today.

Ms Schofield welcomed the decision to support hairdressers’ penalty rates, which flies in the face of the Morrison Government’s efforts to slash penalty rates for workers in the hospitality and retail sectors in 2017.

“United Workers Union members know only too well how hard it is to fight against penalty rate cuts after successfully defending penalty rates for 42,000 clubs workers last year,” Ms Schofield said.

“In the hairdressers’ case the Fair Work Commission (FWC) agreed with union arguments that a cut in hairdressers’ penalty rates would cut the earnings of low-paid workers, affecting their living standards and their ability to make ends meet.

“This is belated recognition by the FWC of the key argument against weekend rate cuts: they stop workers from being able to put food on the table and petrol in the car.

“It’s a shame that the issues facing workers are still falling on deaf ears with the Liberal National Government, which is proving just how out of touch it is. It must be remembered that Scott Morrison voted eight times to cut penalty rates.

“This most recent decision is a clear sign that the Morrison Government must shift its focus from funding yacht clubs in the top end of town, and urgently support legislation to restore penalty rates so all workers are treated equally under our laws.

“The original decision to cut penalty rates for thousands of retails and hospitality workers in 2017 was based on a flawed idea that there would be a positive employment effect.  This has been categorically disproved.

“While we welcome the decision in these proceedings, we remain committed to reversing unfair and unaffordable penalty rate cuts for all workers.”


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Lauren Kelly
0422 595 298  / [email protected]