Gold Coast workers paying the penalty

OVER the years I have worked Monday to Friday, Saturdays and Sundays, late nights and early mornings, Christmas Day and Good Friday.

That is because, as any journo will mournfully tell you, there are no public holidays in the media world.

The only thing that is of even slight consolation as you drag yourself to work on Christmas morning, just as your family starts to unwrap presents and plan lunch, is the extra leave days you get.


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They are to make up for all the lazy Sunday family get togethers, public holidays and special occasions you miss out on and is a substitute for penalty rates.

Without those extra holidays in lieu there would be no incentive not to call in sick or use some other excuse to get out of working when everyone else is enjoying themselves.

So the push within the Coalition to kill weekend and holiday penalty rates for already low paid workers is mean.

I understand many struggling small businesses on the Gold Coast would benefit from not having to pay their staff extra money.

I’d benefit from not having to pay my electricity bill. But I still have to pay it.

The Gold Coast has a huge hospitality industry with its many workers dependent on the extra money they make in penalty rates.

The work is usually casual, seasonal and unreliable.

A decrease in their earnings would have a marked impact on the local economy as well as on their ability to provide for their families.

Moncrieff MP Steve Ciobo last year spoke out in Parliament against penalty rates, claiming that in his electorate ‘built off the backs of hospitality workers’ it had driven up unemployment and closed down some businesses on Sunday.

Is he saying workers should accept less money to protect their jobs?

You never see politicians having to make that choice.

Someone – I can’t remember who because I think I blanked it from my mind in horror – even held up the United States as an example of hospitality workers not being paid penalty rates.

True.

But they are also usually on the poverty line.

 

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