ANMF says attack on penalty rates has begun

The country’s largest heath union, the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF) says it is extremely concerned the draft recommendations of the Productivity Commission’s report into workplace relations threaten Australia’s current IR system.

Whilst the ANMF acknowledged the safeguards for health and emergency workers for now, Federal Secretary Lee Thomas said the ANMF would never support a so-called “two-tiered” workplace relations system, cutting penalty rates in the retail and hospitality sectors, as proposed by the Commission in its draft findings.

“Frontline nurses and other health professionals may be safe from cuts to their penalty rates for working Sundays, but for how long and what about working on public holidays?  The Commission removes any new public holidays for all workers in Australia,” Ms Thomas said.

“Whether you are a nurse working on a Sunday, or a barista or a shop assistant working on a Sunday, the fact is, it is still Sunday work.

“The penalty rates of retail and hospitality workers have been singled out this time round and there is no guarantee from the Government that nurses and midwives won’t be next.”

And on top of this, the Productivity Commission wants to remove public holiday rates.

“The ANMF supports all workers entitlements to Sunday penalty rates and we are urging the Abbott Government to rule out these wage cuts to millions of workers, including aged care nurses and assistants in nursing.”

The ANMF will continue to campaign for the retention of penalty rates and public holiday payments for all workers including nurses, midwives and assistants in nursing.

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