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Unions to front Southern Cross Club dinner over penalty rates

By Ian Bushnell - 11 August 2017 0

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Guests at tonight’s Hardy Wine Dinner at the Southern Cross Yacht Club will be confronted by union volunteers handing out leaflets alleging that the club has cut Sunday penalty rates for its workers.

UnionsACT said the Southern Cross Club was the only community club in Canberra to cut Sunday penalty rates, and the leaflets would highlight the hypocrisy of the club’s board and senior management, as well as its 2016 $1.1 million profit.

But CEO of Canberra Southern Cross Club Ian Mackay said the club staff had voted overwhelmingly for the Enterprise Agreement by 73 per cent to 27 per cent and that it had been approved by the Fair Work Commission.

He said that collectively they were some $500,000 a year better off on the EA than the award.

“The union claims regarding penalty rate changes in our enterprise agreement are grossly misleading.  The Canberra Southern Cross Club supports weekend penalty rates and pays amongst the best in the hospitality industry,” he said.

Mr Mackay said that Sunday penalty rates would stay at double time until June 30 2018, which was better than the clubs award and superior to almost any business in Canberra.

“From  1 July 2018, we will move to pay the award rate for Sundays, which is currently 1.75 times the normal rate, ” he said.

“We will continue to support our workforce in the face of this bullying and provocation of the union. Our workforce overwhelmingly voted the EA in, it was approved by the Fair Work Commission and it preserves Sunday penalty rates as well as a raft of other benefits that ensure we remain an employer of choice in our community.”

UnionsACT secretary Alex White said polling confirmed that eight in 10 Canberrans supported weekend penalty rates.

“There is zero community support for the Southern Cross Club’s decision to cut Sunday penalty rates for some of its lowest paid workers,” Mr White said.

“This is a club that supposedly supports family values and the community, but in fact cuts wages while booking $1 million in profits. How the board thinks cutting penalty rates supports families is beyond me.

“The executive remuneration for the club’s senior executives is over $800,000 per year, but the board thinks it is acceptable to reduce the pay for Sunday workers.

“The actions of the Southern Cross Club to cut penalty rates is deeply damaging to the community’s confidence in the community club model.”

Sir James Hardy will be a guest speaker at the yacht club event.

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