Christensen’s ‘defence’ of penalty rates in retail & fast food farcical

George Christensen MP’s recent announcement that he would be introducing a private members bill to protect penalty rates is a farcical stunt designed to grab headlines and deceive workers in his electorate into thinking he actually cares about their take home pay.

SDA National Secretary Gerard Dwyer said that in an effort to save his political skin Mr Christensen was now pretending to ‘go rogue’ on penalty rates to shield himself from the backlash of voters in his electorate, who are rightfully angry that their take home pay will be cut.

“George’s empty gesture to ‘protect’ penalty rates has nothing to do with workers, and everything do with George.”

“Now he’s seen just how upset workers are with having their take home pay slashed by the Government of which he is member, he’s scrambling to pretend he’s on their side.”

“But the fact is Mr Christensen’s bill will do absolutely nothing to protect the take home pay of workers in his electorate or across the country.”

“If Mr Christensen was serious about standing up for workers in his electorate he would cross the floor to support Labor’s Protecting Take Home Pay Bill 2017 or better still, he’d resign from the National Party and Coalition Government, both of whom openly support slashing penalty rates.”

“But Mr Christensen will do none of these things, because this is a stunt.”

In his recent statements Mr Christensen also had the audacity to attack unions, the organisations actually standing up for workers and protecting their rights.

“Mr Christensen conveniently ignores the fact that through robust enterprise bargaining with employers, our union has secured a package of strong wages and conditions for fast food and retail workers.”

“In the retail sector the practice of rolling up rates in union negotiated EBAs have delivered weekly wages $90 higher than the award rate for major supermarket chain employees.”

“At McDonalds, full time senior weekly wages are $50-$65 a week higher than the fast food award.”

“The fact is when small business was offered the same opportunity to shift the value of weekend penalty rates into higher base rates of pay for workers through the ‘SA Small Business EBA’, they walked away.”

“This reveals the true nature of their agenda, which is simply a straight cut to penalty rates for their workers.”

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