Nurses and midwives stand with all workers in fight for penalty rates

Central Coast and Hunter members of the NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association (NSWNMA) have joined with workers from the aged care, retail and hospitality sectors to defend their penalty rates against future attacks by the Abbott Government.

The NSWNMA is supporting a campaign led by local unions, including United Voice and the Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees’ Association (SDA), to highlight the threat to families and the Central Coast economy if the Abbott Government slashes weekend penalty rates.

General Secretary of the NSWNMA, Brett Holmes, said the campaign would involve nurses, midwives and a range of other local workers raising community awareness about the threat to penalty rates, using market stalls, door-knocking, distributing flyers and petitions and visiting MPs.

“Our members will not stand back and let the Abbott Government destroy the livelihoods of employees in the aged care, hospitality and retail sectors, by removing their hard-earned weekend penalty rates,” Mr Holmes said.

“The Abbott Government called on the Productivity Commission to review workplace relations in an attempt to abolish penalty rates outright – we’ve long known that Coalition governments are no fan of penalty rates or those who work unsociable hours to receive them.

“Already we’ve seen the Productivity Commission’s draft recommendations outline cuts to Sunday penalty rates for the retail, entertainment and hospitality sectors, as well as a freeze on minimum wage indexation, removing restrictions on individual flexibility arrangements and limiting public holidays.

“Without doubt these policies would result in a grossly unfair two-tier wages system.  It would also lead to broader impacts on local economies because local workers who lose their penalty rates would stop spending and have no extra capacity to spend.

“Before long nursing home operators and other employers, including the State Government, would argue that weekend pay should be no different for nurses than retail or hospitality workers.  They will continue chipping away at all penalty rates until they’re gone.

 “We have fought for and support all workers entitlements, including weekend penalty rates, and urge the Abbott Government to rule out any cuts or the scaling back of penalty rate into the future,” said Mr Holmes.

Download this media release: Nurses and midwives stand with workers in fight for penalty rates

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