A KEY union claims Hinkler workers would be $15.76 million worse off if Keith Pitt is re-elected and the LNP pursues planned penalty rate cuts.
A KEY union claims Hinkler workers would be $15.76 million worse off if Keith Pitt is re-elected and the LNP pursues planned penalty rate cuts. Wavebreakmedia

Union claims Hinkler workers face a $15.7m Pitt-fall

A KEY union claims Hinkler workers would be $15.76 million worse off if Keith Pitt is re-elected and the LNP pursues planned penalty rate cuts.

Figures released by the left-leaning McKell Institute indicate the heavy loss for workers in Bundaberg.

However, Mr Pitt yesterday accused United Voice of scaremongering, saying it was Labor's $387 billion in new taxes that would hurt workers much harder.

United Voice Queensland president Sharron Caddie said the cuts already made to hospitality, pharmacy and retail workers' pay were a sign of things to come if Scott Morrison and Mr Pitt were re-elected.

In 2017, the Fair Work Commission ruled in favour of reducing Sunday and public holiday penalty rates for workers in the fast food, retail, hospitality and pharmacy sectors.

According to The McKell Institute, the forecast loss in penalty rate income for award-reliant, weekend workers under full FWC penalty rate cuts, compared to policy to reverse the cuts, over financial years 2019-2022 for Hinkler is a total of $15,761,667.

In a breakdown of sectors in Hinkler, retail workers are forecast to lose $9,214,330, while in hospitality the figure is $4,448,781 and $1,620,143 for fast food staff.

"With more than $15.7 million already planned to be ripped out of local pay packets over the next three years, other United Voice members are rightly asking whose penalty rates are next on the chopping block," Ms Caddie said.

"The thousands of aged care workers, emergency workers and manufacturing workers in this seat rely on penalty rates to pay their bills, put food on the table and a roof over their heads.

"This is a pay cut locals simply can't afford."

Mr Pitt said the union had made similar claims in March.

He said there had never been a vote in parliament on penalty rates.

"The Fair Work Commission sets pay and conditions for Australian workers paid under modern awards - not the Government," he said.

"Changes made to penalty rates meant small businesses are able to compete on a level playing field with the big businesses Bill Shorten and other union leaders did special deals with to sign away workers' penalty rates.

"Labor wants to hit the economy with $387 billion in new taxes. The Coalition Government on the other hand is giving tax relief to low and middle-income earners in a matter of weeks when they submit tax returns for this financial year.

"For a single income family, this means up to $1080 back in their pocket, and for families on a dual income, up to $2160."


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