Phase in any penalty rate restoration, retailers plead

Mr Zimmerman said he did not believe Labor had a right to overturn a decision of the independent Fair Work Commission.

«If they feel they have a right to overturn an independent decision and if they are going to do it, then by all means let’s sit down and talk about it. But at this stage we’ve had no consultation,» Mr Zimmerman said.

«If they are going to go on that course … then my statement to them would be let’s sit down and talk about how we can transition these in and make it a little fairer. It should be staggered in and done with consultation with the industry.»

Mr Zimmerman said many shops in the retail industry had closed in recent years because «they have not been able to make ends meet».

Labor’s spokesman for employment Brendan O’Connor said that, when the Fair Work Commission decided to reduce penalty rates, employer bodies and the Liberals claimed it would create more jobs and increase hours for workers, «which hasn’t eventuated».

«Just last week, the Council of Small Business confirmed that cutting penalty rates has not led to jobs growth, just real cuts to workers’ wages,» Mr O’Connor said.

A new paper released by the Labor-aligned McKell Institute think tank also shows the election of the Liberal government would leave low paid workers up to $2.9 billion worse off.

The ALP has said it would reverse cuts to penalty rates within the first 100 days of winning government,




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