Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Meanwhile in Australia.....

Australia's Fair Work Commission passed an act to cut Sunday and Public Holiday penalty rates on Thursday February 23, 2017; the day it was done is important, for workers in the hospitality, restaurant, pharmacy and retail industries. These are some of the lowest paid workers in our country, and if they feel like they have been kicked in the guts I am not surprised.

In our country, it has long been accepted that if you are working outside normal hours; basically 9-5, Monday to Friday, you will get a loading, or bonus, on your base rate. If your loading is 150% for a night shift, you will get $30 dollars an hour on a $20 dollar base rate. This has been our societal norm for about 100 years. If you work unsociable hours you get even further monetary compensation.

The usual squeals of anguish and acclaim has been heard from all the usual suspects. Unions claim rip off, probably correct, employers say not enough, probably correct too. Our federal government, liberal, or conservative, won't interfere with an independent authorities findings, good thing. The parliamentary opposition, labour, liberal/labour, socialist inclined, yeah I know its confusing, whom set up the commission in the first place want to introduce a bill to parliament to ensure that the commission cannot reduce wages. This is a good thing too.

Now, all this is just a giant shit fight but seems not to address the real issue. This is about the commodifying of time. Is your time just a commodity? Is every hour of every day worth the same as another? Is the time you spend at work worth the same as the time you spend playing football with your grandkids; and if not, should you be financially compensated?

The Fair Work Commission handed down its decision on a Thursday; they don't work weekends. Our parliament will make its decision on a weekday; they don't work weekends. The union leaders who are in uproar will make their announcement on a weekday; they don't work weekends. The Business Council of Australia will make their pronouncements on a weekday; they don't work weekends.

It seems to this writer that the commodifying of time only applies to the poorest members of our workers. Judges, commissioners, lawyers, politicians, managers, public servants,will have their cappuccino and croissant on a Sunday morning happy that they have solved a "labour" problem happy that only the the working poor's time has been com modified but their time is more important. Australia, we're standing in it.

1 comment:

  1. I have no sympathy for this post, in all honesty.

    Why should somebody who chooses to work nights, or weekends, get paid 'penalty rates' and earn as much in 26 hours as someone who gives 40 hours of their time on the same job.

    We talk about equal pay for equal work...

    The people that you criticize of working "9-5"... most of them hardly work 9-5 and are salaried, so every hour they give to their job over and above their salaried pay packet is free. Yet it's expected. And you know what? they don't complain about it. They don't argue, they just put their heads down and do it because it's what's expected of them in their job role.