RALLY: Residents called for a reversal of the penalty rates cuts during this year's Labour Day March in Gladstone.
RALLY: Residents called for a reversal of the penalty rates cuts during this year's Labour Day March in Gladstone. Liana Walker

Flynn workers $15.5m worse off without penalty rates: Report

UNIONS say Flynn workers are "livid" about the Federal Government's penalty rates cuts, and their anger will be noticed at the polls on May 18.

A new McKell Institute report, which analysed the two major parties' penalty rates policies, found Flynn workers would receive $15.5 million more pay under a Labor Government compared to the Coalition,

The findings have added fuel to the fire for the combined-union movement against incumbent Liberal-National MP for Flynn Ken O'Dowd.

Queensland Council of Unions general secretary Ros McLennan said Flynn voters were preparing "their electoral baseball bats" for Mr O'Dowd.

"Workers in Flynn were already furious that Ken O'Dowd and this federal LNP government voted eight times to cut penalty rates and they will now be livid at the $15.5M in wages lost to local workers," she said.

Meanwhile business lobby group Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland is warning a reversal of the penalty rate cuts, combined with an increase to the minimum wage, could be damaging for businesses.

CCIQ head of media and industry Dan Petrie said Labor's plan was "a counter-productive strategy" towards older Australians and particularly the small business.

"Many of the policy initiatives are couched in terms of the politics of envy and, even more disappointingly, the ALP has chosen to interfere in the independence of the Fair Work Commission in the setting of wages," he said.

"(The penalty rates) decision was to harmonise the Saturday and Sunday rate, noting that the lower tax loading on the Saturday rate offset a modest reduction in the before-tax rate for employees working on Sunday."

The McKell Institute's break down of wages lost found retail workers were the most affected, with $9.1 million in "lost wages", the hospitality industry accounted for $4.4 million, followed by fast food workers who would be $1.5 million worse off.



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