Today’s latest revelation of Sunday penalty rates being cut under Mr Shorten’s watch leaves his credibility in tatters.
As reported today in The Australian, when Mr Shorten was National Secretary of the Australian Workers’ Union, agreements covering workers at Target, Big W and Just Jeans, cut Sunday penalty rates by the exact same margin (from 200% to 150%) as was recently proposed by the independent Fair Work Commission.
It defies belief that Mr Shorten can maintain his scare campaign, when as a union leader, his union struck agreements for the same rate reductions in the retail industry.
In an even more egregious act of hypocrisy, today it was also revealed that in one employment agreement negotiated by the AWU during the time when Mr Shorten was National Secretary, workers at the Rydges Tradewinds in Cairns had all penalty rates removed entirely.
This recent revelation follows similar evidence uncovered by the Royal Commission – for example between Mr Shorten’s Australian Workers Union and Cleanevent, which removed all penalty rates for low paid cleaners, with no compensation.
Mr Shorten’s hypocrisy on penalty rates is simply breathtaking. As a union boss, he made an art form out of doing deals which cut or abolished penalty rates. He indulges in rhetoric about protecting penalty rates but when given the chance as a union leader he cut or abolished them. He should be judged by his actions, not his empty words.
Mr Shorten should now come clean with the Australian people – does he support the practice of unions doing deals with employers to cut weekend penalty rates or doesn’t he? Is Sunday, in Bill Shorten’s world, sacrosanct or not?
He is happy for big businesses and big unions to cut deals that cut penalty rates. He’s apparently only opposed to lower penalty rates when an independent umpire modifies them for small businesses, which evens up the playing field.
Today’s revelations are another reminder of Mr Shorten’s double talk and double standards. His words cannot be believed and his actions cannot be trusted.