By Zeg (Editorial Cartoonist)
Are penalty rates the absolute must we always hear from unions? Or do they hurt business? Zeg, our cartoonist, weighs in…
I have worked shift work for most of my life. Some of those jobs I chose to do and others I just had to do. Of all of them I never was attracted to an occupation because it offered penalty rates for working weekends and nights. I know of no Police Officers, Security Guards, Nurse, Ambo’s or Fire Fighter’s to name a few, who thought it was a great job to get into because of the penalty rates. I really do not understand why we still see these periods in the week as being such a sacrificial time to do your job. This is a 24 hour, 7 day a week economy and has been for decades.
The workforce is becoming more casualised everyday and salaries are the preferred option for most professionals regardless of their work hours. As more and more jobs go overseas because of the not so level playing field that Globalisation has given us, the only true obstacle left to keep Australians working and business being competitive are PENALTY RATES.
Should they be removed all together? Perhaps not completely as the shock to many family budgets will be dramatic, therefore the solution is compromise and bargaining that will be of mutual benefit to employer and employees. Sure a few people will lose some money but the trade off is job security and less dependence on the Welfare State.
Of course this industrial relations debate suits the ALP Leader, Bill Shorten nicely, as he will no doubt encourage demarcation disputes and industrial action and then blame the sideshow of misery that these things bring on the PM who is already suffering in the popularity stakes.
In my opinion this will be not only be the greatest test of Tony Abbott’s resolve and commitment to see and act past his political career and to cause the overdue death of the Aussie entitlement mentality but it will also shine a light on Shorten’s leadership credibility as someone who is not a Union puppet but an ALP Prime Minister in the waiting.
Let’s see if the insanity continues!