Penalty rate cuts to hurt workers | story photos and video

THE messages, when it comes to keeping penalty rates, are strong and to the point.

“Protect the rights of the workers or you are gone” is one and another states “I am terrified that nurses will be next”.

One of the is the strongest is “stop taking money from the poor”.

These messages were collected by a group of people, mostly representing the Build a Better Futures campaign in the Nowra CBD recently, and they go on to state “stand up for your electorate now or get out’ and “a pay cut is not a gift”.

The messages were collected following the Fair Work Commission's decision, which will see Sunday rates reduced from July and they (the messages) will be taken to Federal Member for Gilmore Ann Sudmalis.

Lisa Kremmer, from the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU), was one of the people writing down the messages and asking people to sign the petition.

“People are quite angry about this (the penalty rate issues),” she said.

“There is a great concern about the cuts and what it means for the workers.”

Ms Kremmer said the Federal Member for Gilmore needs to hear about how her community is feeling when it comes to the penalty rates issue.

Mrs Sudmalis said she always always welcome feedback from the community.

“I have only received messages of support for standing up for the people of Gilmore, be that the unemployed who want to have a go and the underemployed who want to work more hours,” she said.

“Many small shops, pharmacies, takeaways and hotels have simply found it too expensive to open on Sundays.

“This decision to modify Sunday penalty rates will help small business open their doors, compete on a level playing field with big businesses, and create more jobs.”

Penalty rates protest hits the streets

Meanwhile, the Build a Better Futures  group believes community members expect hardship if penalty rates are cut.

‘Workers’ rights are always under attack and what do we do when there attack ? We have to stand up and fight back,” Ms Kremmer said

The group suggests the cuts will start in a few employment areas and then move into others

“The level of fear from people who think they will be next is huge,” Ms Kremmer said.

Group supporter Liz Folkard is worried for the people trying to pay higher education costs.

“They (the students) rely on the penalty rates and if they will lose those penalty rates they will not be able afford to put themselves through university,” she said.