Save Our Aussie Weekend: union

THE union representing hospitality workers has launched a campaign to protect weekend penalty rates.

United Voices national secretary Louise Tarrant said the Save Our Aussie Weekend campaign, which was launched in Canberra on Sunday, was a reaction to employers pushing to scrap penalty rates for Saturday and Sunday shifts.

She said the results of a Galaxy survey showed 97% of people agreed weekends were an "important time for families".

"Australians value the weekend as an important time for families and communities and it should be protected," Ms Tarrant said.

"There is more to life than work.

"We are calling on employers and politicians to stand up for our communities and families.

"Employers in the restaurant and catering industry are leading this attack with their push to get rid of the weekend as we know it."

Ms Tarrant said workers in other industries - namely accommodation and retail - would be the next to have their weekend penalty rates stripped if this push is successful.

"We know it will quickly flow to millions of workers in other industries if they are successful. There are two million workers alone in the related accommodation and food and retail industries," she said.

"If the employers succeed in these industries it would undermine the weekend penalty rate system for workers in all industries."

The NSW Business Chamber and Restaurant and Catering Australia have jointly applied to Fair Work Australia (FWA) to vary the national Restaurant Industry Award 2010.

If the application was successful cafe and restaurant owners would be able to pay workers no penalty rates for their first five shifts of the week and then have penalties apply only on the sixth and subsequent shifts.

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