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Greens call on Illawarra Labor – put young casuals first, back penalty rate protection

Media Release
Lee Rhiannon 17 May 2016

Greens Cunningham candidate Cath Blakey and Greens NSW Senator Lee Rhiannon are calling on Illawarra Labor branches and MPs to support union and Greens plans to protect penalty rates through legislation. 

“Protecting penalty rates is a huge issue for young people living in the Illawarra as most rely on casual work,” Ms Blakey said. 

“The Greens plan to protect penalty rates by moving legislation in the next parliament will help provide certainty to all locals who rely on casual work. 

“I am urging local Labor members and MPs to follow the lead of unions and the Greens and back legislation to protect penalty rates.

“Penalty rates are a basic work right designed to compensate people who work unsociable hours when most people have time off. 

"If Labor say they are committed to rights at work they need to put that into practice by publicly declaring their support for legislation that will protect current penalty rates for Saturdays, Sundays, and all those special days from Christmas to Easter.

‘I've done my fair share of casual retail and hospitality work, and currently work in retail in a permanent part-time position. Cutting penalty rates would mean I would get $5/hour less for evening work, and $5/hour less on Saturdays.

Senator Rhiannon said, “Protecting penalty rates is a major part of our election campaign as the Fair Work Commission in June could decide to cut rates starting with hospitality and retail industries. 

“I strongly support Ms Blakey’s call for Illawarra Labor back the call for penalty rates to be protected in legislation. 

“As youth unemployment in the Illawarra remains above the national average a top priority must be expanding secure work by protecting penalty rates, not weakening job rights.

"The Greens are the only parliamentary party that will protect weekend rates of pay.  

"Job security is a top concern of most workers. They have a right to income security. An important step to achieving this is to legislate for weekend rates,” Senator Rhiannon said.

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