The nation's largest union, the Shops and Distributive Alliance of Employees, said reforms to the modern award were needed to improve pay for retail workers.
The nation's largest union, the Shops and Distributive Alliance of Employees, said reforms to the modern award were needed to improve pay for retail workers. © iStockphoto.com/felixR

Wage review begins

EMPLOYERS across several industries have proposed slashing weekend penalty rates for casual employees and cutting minimum working hours for school students.

Numerous submissions to the annual wage review by Fair Work Australia have proposed the cuts, while unions were looking for better pay conditions.

The National Retailers Association is pushing for minimum working hours for students working in retail and fast food to be cut to less than three hours.

In its wage review submission the NRA said more flexible arrangements were needed to allow school students and employers negotiate individual arrangements.The association also proposed penalty rates be removed for casual retail workers' weekend shifts.

The nation's largest union, the Shops and Distributive Alliance of Employees, said reforms to the modern award were needed to improve pay for retail workers.

"Reducing the hours an employee must work over-time before receiving double time from three hours to two hours, will restore a long-standing entitlement for retail employees which existed prior to award modernisation and was unilaterally removed," the submission reads.

The union also said casuals working in the retail industry were disadvantaged compared with full-time employees, claiming a casual worker could work 54 hours more than a full-time employee and not be paid over-time.

The Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland said the current workplace relations system was impacting all private enterprises in Queensland.

"CCIQ has received substantial feedback in recent times that demonstrates the current system has had a negative impact on businesses," its submission reads.

"This includes a reduction in their capacity to employ and retain staff, and a reduction in flexibility and profitability in workplaces.

"The Australian Council of Trade Unions also proposed an increase in the national minimum wage of $26, and a 3.8% increase to all higher awards.


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