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Clubs Australia’s bid to slash penalty rates rejected

Thu, Mar 28, 10:01am by Staff Writer

Registered clubs have lost a bid to cut weekend penalty rates for up to 42,000 workers by moving them onto the hospitality award.

The Sydney Morning Herald is reporting that the Fair Work Commission rejected the Clubs Australia application to roll the registered and licensed clubs award into the hospitality industry award, saying it could not “identify any particular benefit.”

The executive director of Clubs Australia Industrial Chris Mossman said the decision meant that small, struggling bowling clubs and RSLs in regional communities “will be forced to pay their staff higher penalty rates than Sydney’s Star Casino.”

“Clubs Australia Industrial is surprised by the Fair Work Commission’s decision to reject an application to allow clubs to roll into the hospitality award,” he said.

“The award application was made in order to give clubs the choice to pay their staff the same as any other local hospitality business, rather than having to pay more money for the same work.”

“Many of our larger clubs pay workers above award rates because they want to attract and retain the best workers. No doubt, they will continue to do so.”

The Fair Work Commission found no evidence that penalty rates in the clubs’ sector had caused any “identifiable disadvantage in any competition with hospitality venues or that such penalty rates have any significance in that context.”

It said the clubs’ industry had not provided enough evidence to support its argument that the level of disability for permanent employees working weekends and public holidays in the sector was the same as that in the hospitality sector.

National secretary for United Voice Jo-anne Schofield said the decision was “a huge win for the tens of thousands of clubs workers” her union represents who had stood to lose $100 per week in penalty rates.

“Working people shouldn’t be forced through expensive, drawn out court battles just to stay afloat and avoid a pay cut,” she said.

Casino workers in Tasmania receive backpay

Tasmania’s The Advocate reported last month that workers at Tasmania’s two casinos would receive back pay for compulsory problem gambling training they did in their own time.

Up to 800 workers will be paid between $100 and $150 after United Voice lodged a dispute with the Fair Work Commission last year about the lack of payment for training.

The union estimates that between 400 to700 employees are affected and the cost of lost wages for unpaid training hours since 2013 could be up to A$120,000.

Since 2013, casino workers have been directed to complete the compulsory training course at home.

The course teaches employees how to recognise and address problem gambling, how to understand gaming legislation and how to minimise harmful gambling.

Federal’s general manager Casinos and Resorts Dominic Baker said the company was happy “to reach a positive an fair outcome for our casino employees.”

“We highly value our employees who expect us to approach employment related matters responsibly and respectfully and we are taking positive steps to resolve some of the additional matters raised,” Mr Baker said.

The backpay follows hundreds of Tasmanian casino workers campaigning for a pay increase after they rejected the company’s offer of a two per cent a year increase over three years.

Employees at Wrest Point Casino and Launceston Country Club voted down the proposed increase in January, arguing it would not keep pace with cost of living expenses.

The Federal Group arrived in Tasmania in 1968 when the state was struggling with debt.

Greg Farrell Sr, the chairman of the Federal Group ran a public campaign to reassure locals that a casino in Tasmania would be more than a hotel and gaming den and would put Tasmania on the map.

Wrest Point Hotel Casino was opened on 10 February 1973 and was Australia’s first legal casino.

Wrest Point has more than 650 poker machines and 269 hotel rooms.


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