The Federal Government is pushing for the abolition of penalty rates so as to make Australian workers competitive with the impoverished of the world.
And before you think I’m talking about Bangla Desh or Cambodia, keep in mind that the Federal minimum wage in the US is only $7.25 per hour, that not a few US states have lower – or no – minimum wage rates.
That’s why you can be expected to pay a 15-20% tip or gratuity to hospitality workers, taxi drivers, hairdressers, grocery packers and others of the working poor in the world’s richest country.
Abbott and Hockey have called for changes to, or removal of, penalty rates in a submission to the Fair Work Commission (FWC), hoping to hide behind the skirts of an “independent umpire”.
Abbott and Hockey hope to con us into believing that any change to penalty rates was not their doing, but that of the Commission.
Of course, there is independence and there is independence,
A body such as the FWC may not be under the direct supervision or control of the government of the day, but, if ideologically, culturally and politically there is a commonality of agendas then it makes very little difference as to the formality of the ties.
The same demand for more “labour market flexibility” features in the upcoming South Australian state election where both the Liberal opposition and the Nick Xenophon group have also signalled the need to cut penalty rates.
But are the reactionaries merely lifting a heavy rock only to drop it on their own toes?
A few weeks ago, a prominent Adelaide pub restaurant, the Bombay Bicycle Club, erected a sign purporting to show how penalty rates of 2.75 times the value of the award wage would affect menu prices.
This was no spur of the moment act. It was not an erasable chalk scrawl on a blackboard, but a professionally made, embossed sign. It clearly displayed not the truth of the penalty rate usually applied but sheer bloody malice aforethought by an arrogant born-to-be-a-boss.
What came crashing down on the head and the toes of this creep was a torrent of negative and hostile comment on all avenues of social media.
The kiddies had struck back!
They had shown that this was an issue for their age group, and that once pushed to action, they were capable of effective and immediate mobilisation.
The restaurant owner backed down, pulled the sign and apologised on Facebook.
No wonder Abbott and Hockey want someone else to do their dirty work for them!
So here’s a tip for Abbott – bring it on you bastard, ‘cos once you’ve got the kids off-side, you’ll never get them back!