The Gladstone business snubbing weekend penalty rate cuts

THE battlelines over the decision to cut penalty rates have been drawn but for the workers at Craig's Bakery, it's all white noise now.

Owners of Craig's Bakery, Renee and Ron Craig, said they didn't think twice about not cutting penalty rates for their 25 staff members after the Fair Work Commission handed down its decision two weeks ago.

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Craig's Bakery has been serving hot pies and fresh bread in Gladstone for more than 40 years but this latest move may have just made both Renee and Ron the best bosses in the region.

One staff member said the general feeling among workers was that they were "very happy" and also "proud of our bosses" to not cut penalty rates.

Renee said employees worked almost around the clock at the bakery and many relied on weekend work to make ends meet.

PENALTY RATES: Kristy Richardson said all of the staff at Craig's Bakery were very happy with their bosses decision to not cut penalty rates.
PENALTY RATES: Kristy Richardson said all of the staff at Craig's Bakery were very happy with their bosses decision to not cut penalty rates. Declan Cooley

"Our first reaction to the decision was surprise because (penalty rates) have always been part of the award but in our minds we were never going to change," Renee said.

"It's hard to find employees for weekend work and we've got a couple of guys who only work weekends and rely on that wage, so we wanted to look after those guys.

"We know what it's like because we've got a young family and we appreciate spending time with our family."

Although Renee said cutting penalty rates would eventually equate to having more money in the bakery owners pockets, she believed looking after their current staff was more important.

Figures revealed last week showed that workers Gladstone could lose up to $77 a week under the new changes.

The FWC's decision, which has been supported by the Coalition and opposed by the Labor Party, will mean full-time and part-time retail workers would have Sunday rates reduced from 200% to 150%, while casuals will be reduced from 200% to 175%.

Full-time and part-time hospitality workers will have Sunday rates slashed from 175% to 150%. Sunday rates for casuals will remain at 175%.

For pharmacy workers, Sunday rates for work between 7am and 9pm will be reduced from 200% to 150% for full-time and part-time, while casuals will be reduced from 200% to 175%.

Public holiday rates have also been cut from 250% to 225% for full-time and part-time hospitality, restaurant, retail, fast-food, and pharmacy workers.

There are more than 10,000 people who work in retail, hospitality, restaurants, fast food joints and pharmacies across the Flynn electorate, according to 2011 Census data.

Renee said the difference in hourly rates between the weekday and weekend were "significant" but she knew her workers were really happy to know there wouldn't be any change to their wages.

"It's an individual thing but personally we didn't think twice about not bringing the changes in," she said.

"Our staff are wonderful ... it's the best decision for us and the best for them."



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