In response to the Federal Court’s decision to back slashed penalty rates, Bill Shorten tweeted — “Disappointing decision in the Federal Court. It's clear the best way to protect penalty rates is to vote Labor.”

By Joe McDonough


Posted on October 11, 2017

The Federal Court has today backed the Fair Work Commission’s decision in favour of slashing penalty rates for hospitality, retail and fast-food workers.

In response to the decision Opposition leader Bill Shorten tweeted — “Disappointing decision in the Federal Court. It’s clear the best way to protect penalty rates is to vote Labor.”

Unions representing hospitality and retail workers challenged the Commission’s decision in June to cut Sunday and holiday penalty rates, starting on July 1, arguing the Commission’s views were inconsistent with the Fair Work Act and didn’t take into consideration relative living standards and the needs of low paid workers.

Justice Mordy Bromberg dismissed the objections today, saying the Court found no jurisdictional error in the way the Commission went about its task.

“United Voice believes that the system has once again failed to protect workers and warns that business groups will attempt further attacks on worker entitlements in other industries,” the union’s national secretary, Jo-anne Schofield said.

However The Australian reports that Australian Retailers Association is celebrating the fact retailers can “get on with the job of employing more people”.

“We now have a unanimous decision from a five member full court of the Federal Court supporting the unanimous decision of a five member full bench of the Fair Work Commission to reduce penalty rates,” its executive director Russell Zimmerman said.

“The ARA hopes the ALP and other political parties who are seeking to overturn this decision are sensible enough to accept the umpire’s decision and allow retailers to get on with the job of employing more people.”