Senator Eric Abetz says the Coalition wants to “help” Australia’s lowest paid employees — by removing many of their conditions. Shaun Newman comments.
The Australian economy is diverse and made up of many industries — with retail and hospitality industries being two of the lowest paid for working people. These industries are also poorly represented by weak unions, and as a result conditions continue to fall to comply with low wage rates.
Now enter Eric Abetz, the federal Coalition spokesman on Industrial Relations. His latest proclamation is to “help” lowly paid waitresses bargain away their weekend penalty rates in order to receive even less pay for the work they do while other people are enjoying themselves.
I do understand that the Abetz's Liberal Party is an employer’s party rather than an employee’s party, however I also believed federal Opposition Leader Tony Abbott when he said that WorkChoices was dead, buried and cremated. It seems that, like Jesus Christ of Nazareth, it has again risen.
Why pick on the lowest paid workers in the country? Could it be that the LNP realize that these people are represented by some of the weakest unions in the country — the AWU and the Shop Assistants Union? Undoubtedly, if they succeed in lowering the wages of the lowest paid employees, they will then look to the second lowest paid, to “help” them.
Ironically, it is these two unions that largely dominate the ALP, so it would appear that there is very little likelihood the federal Industrial Relations Minister Bill Shorten would step in to actively assist these hard working, lowly-paid, Australians.