Thursday, June 20, 2024

Senate inquiry sought on SDA enterprise agreements

Council of Small Business Australia (COSBOA) has called for a Senate inquiry into the impact of enterprise agreements negotiated by the SDA trade union on competition and workplace relations in Australia.

COSBOA CEO Peter Strong says the debate around penalty rates has come from the nature of the SDA enterprise agreements over the past six years.

“These agreements have changed the conditions of weekend workers so that they receive lower than award penalty rates,” he said. “An Ernst & Young report from January 2016 showed that 56 per cent of workers were underpaid on one agreement, often by large sums.

“This has given big businesses a leg up when it comes to competing on weekends as small businesses still have to pay the higher rates and many have not opened as a result. It has made competition difficult if not impossible. It removes choice for consumers while paying lower wages for workers in big business.”

Mr Strong says the issue is that small business has to comply fully with awards and big business does not.

“Unions are running a campaign that business and the Government are against penalty rates, which we are not, and are ignoring the fact that one of their biggest unions has already removed penalty rates for many and created situations where small business is disadvantaged,” he said.

“The facts are important and a Senate inquiry can put the focus on facts while we get back to business.”

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