August 2017 Guest Speakers, Lyndal Ryan

Lyndal Ryan, ACT secretary of United Voice, spoke to the Vintage Reds on the subject of penalty rates.


Service sector employers have failed many times to get rid of penalty rates, but failure has not stopped them trying. United Voice has been defending penalty rates cases for years.

The Productivity Commission has given employers more of a voice, and initially recommended stripping penalty rates everywhere. But there was concern expressed about the impact on doctors and nurses, ambulance staff etc., and employers had to pull back. The impact of changes is now felt by young, casualised staff in a few industries. UV has put the case about their need for family time, time off, etc. and this argument is understood by most people.

In February 2017 penalty rates were slowly taken from retail and hospitality, knowing that changes would hurt low paid workers. United Voice is appealing a case in the Federal Circuit Court: their argument is not that the court got the matter wrong, which would be unlikely to succeed, but that the court wasn't set up for this purpose.

The Productivity Commission criticised the Clubs Australia case... but said they could try again! Not something the other side has been invited to do. The Pharmacy Guild has been a more responsible employer group and will continue to pay penalty rates as in the award. Dickson Tradies (where this meeting is held each month) and other clubs have said that they will stay within the hospitality award.

Lots of people don't know what union they should belong to, or even what a union is. There is much less concept than in the past of how action can be taken all together. Too much individual choice in everything. The Southern Cross Club is one example of a club which has determined that it will remove penalty rates. The system is well and truly broken. The "Save our Weekend" campaign may broaden out to include all sorts of inequalities.

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