Shadow Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations Brendan O'Connor has claimed that Sunday penalty rates will be threatened if new Employment Minister Michaelia Cash gets her way in a press release (please see below). 

Employment Minister Michaelia Cash has today joined the chorus of Liberal MPs advocating to attack workers’ rights by slashing Sunday Penalty Rates, if elected.

 Talking on ABC last week, Minister Cash said:

I welcome a debate in relation to penalty rates… they certainly seem to deter weekend work, and we have more and more people wanting to open on weekends…”

 Labor does understand the challenges facing small businesses, however does not believe that it is the workers who rely on penalty rates that should have to sacrifice their wages because of this.

 There is a clear lack of evidence that penalty rates deter weekend work.

 This statement in support of slashing Sunday penalty rates follows similar statements from Malcolm Turnbull and Josh Frydenberg.

Australians know that this is the Government pre-positioning and if elected it will enact its plan to slash the penalty rates of 4.5 million Australian workers.

Australia is facing the lowest wage growth in 25 years, yet in the second week of his Prime Ministership, Malcolm Turnbull and his newly appointed Ministers are talking about cutting the conditions of employment for low paid workers.

These comments follow the interim report by the Productivity Commission Inquiry into Australia’s workplace relations system which proposed a two-tier penalty rate system which would cut the penalty rates of every worker in the hospitality, retail and entertainment sectors of our economy.

These changes to penalty rates are also likely to be a two-step approach where one group of workers will have their wages cut – hospitality and retail – before a Liberal Government moves on to the next – nurses, firefighters and others.

Labor will never support a two-tier penalty rate system that would leave millions of Australian workers worse off.  

Rather than a race to the bottom on wages, Labor believes the Government should focus on jobs and economic growth through investing in skills and training, infrastructure, innovation and entrepreneurship.