Stop the Penalty Rate Cuts to Weekend Workers

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The current government has decided to slash the penalty rates of almost 700,000 Australians working on weekends in hospitality, retail, fast food and pharmacy industries, meaning that some of the lowest-earning residents of this nation will stand to lose even more money on top of our already minuscule salaries.

I've been working in the kitchen at one of the largest nursing homes in NSW for the past 5 years, with patients suffering from a range of physical and mental illnesses, including severe dementia to the point where they are unable to move or feed themselves. As it currently stands, I earn $18.91 an hour. The only reason I willfully give up my Sunday and arrive at work by 7:00 in the morning (many of my colleagues arrive by 4:30), while the rest of the country sleeps peacefully on their weekend, is so that I can earn just that slight bit more for the bank, in hopes that I can save up and to one day be able to afford my own home - a notion which is becoming more and more improbable. I give up being able to go out on a Saturday night, in fears that I won't have the strength to work my incredibly, physically demanding job on a Sunday morning, while my friends are able to enjoy their night out - like many Australians. I give up being able to spend time with my family on Sunday morning and during the day. I stand to lose almost $2,000 a year from my already pathetic salary (while others may be losing up to $6,000), whilst it would appear the current leaders in power have only everything to gain on top of their already multi-million dollar empire. People such as our incredibly wealthy prime minister, born to a life of luxury, have no idea what it's like to be on the bottom and to struggle; to work hard for a living while earning almost nothing. I see the most weak, the most ill (physically and mentally) people every day; the elderly residents who made this wonderful country what it is, I'm the one standing by your parents and grandparents in their final days, trying to keep their mind at ease and to help live as much of a peaceful life as possible. They all see my current generation's struggle and they're the ones feeling pity for us, barely being able to survive on the income we receive with the unlikely prospect of being able to afford our own home. While the cost of living in Australia has increased unbelievably dramatically since their day, the current salaries and wages have remained almost the same and redundantly stagnant for far too long. Now this government has decided it's in our best interest to attack the lowest earning community in the country, the ones who are slaving away through our weekends while the others relax, and to take away the money we work so hard to earn so that the vast majority of the nation can have a tranquil, relaxing weekend.

 

I’m of the opinion that if a leader is to prove him or herself to be great, he or she should lead by example. I would ask that our current prime minister - and all those who were responsible and in control of this repugnant decision to attack and punish us – to take on the same penalty cuts for their own salaries. Cut your own income by the percentage you’re happily robbing from us. It’s exceedingly easy to attack the lower classes, those who don’t have the same millions of dollars at their disposal or an equal voice to be heard. This is incredibly un-Australian. Take a cut from your own salaries instead of cowardly taking the money from we, the people who work the hardest but earn the very least. Take the cut yourself. Or, if you find yourselves unable to cope with the losses in your salary then I ask do not punish us in your place.

 

Daniel

 



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