Media Statement | 20 March 2017

March 24, 2017 Media Releases

Today’s report in The Daily Telegraph ’Dodgy’ union wage deals exposed: Fast-food, hospitality and retail workers ripped off on Sundays (20/3/17) includes claims regarding penalty rates for fast food workers which are deliberately misleading and deceptive.

As is typical of reporting on this issue by News Limited the article takes the example of Sunday penalty rates completely in isolation of the total package of take home pay and superior working conditions fast food workers actually receive as part of their enterprise bargaining agreement (EBA).

In fast food, as in many industries across Australia the value of weekend penalty rates has been rolled up into a package of higher base rates of pay and improved working conditions.

At McDonalds, full time senior weekly wages are $50-$65 a week higher than the fast food award and the EBA contains superior conditions such as guaranteed minimum shifts of 10 hours per week, shorter maximum shifts for both full-time, part-time and casual workers and domestic violence, compassionate and study leave.

Importantly the McDonalds EBA contains strong annual wage increases of between 3.5% and 4.5% and fast food workers in Australia are amongst the highest paid in the world, a fact never included in reporting on this issue.

The rolling up of penalty rates has been a successful strategy in securing strong wages and conditions while ensuring the total value of penalty rates are retained and spread across the workforce.

In the retail sector union negotiated EBAs have delivered weekly wage rates $90 higher than the award rate for major supermarket chain employees. At Bunnings and Costco, retail workers receive a weekly wage rate $130 dollars above the award due to their EBA.

Once again, today’s article is a desperate attempt to distract the public from the bitter truth that Malcolm Turnbull supports and endorses a pay cut for just under one million of Australia’s lowest paid workers.


SDA National Secretary Gerard Dwyer

Media Contact: Darren Rodrigo 0414783405