The ACTU has condemned the decision of the Turnbull government to back cuts to penalty rates, after the Federal Court turned down attempts to protect the pay of low-paid workers.

The decision confirms the rules are broken for working people. 700,000 people in retail, pharmacy and hospitality will suffer a government-backed wage cut, while wage growth is at record lows, and 40% of people are in insecure work.

The Turnbull Govenrment’s support for cutting penalty rates, backed by big business, is already having an impact on people who can least afford it, while the government continues to push tax cuts for big businesses.

The Turnbull Government sided with corporations and against working people when it voted down an attempt to reverse the cuts, and today’s decision comes as another blow to families who don’t deserve, and can’t afford, a pay cut.

The Turnbull government’s wage cuts are already spreading to other sectors, as workers in the hairdressing industry are being forced to defend their weekend and public holiday penalty rates.

Quotes attributable to ACTU Secretary Sally McManus:

“Malcolm Turnbull can stop these wage cuts.

“We demand action from the Prime Minister, to reverse these cuts and protect working people’s pay.

“Australia needs a pay rise. Working people’s wages are flatlining and their work is becoming more insecure. The government has a responsibility to act.

“And it gets worse. These pay cuts will continue over the next four years, so thousands of families will continue to find it more difficult to just get by.

“With wage growth at record lows across the country, these pay cuts mean people will go backwards.

“These pay cuts take money out of the pockets of low-paid workers in hospitality, retail and pharmacies, and expose other sectors to wage cuts. Employers are already lobbying to expand the cuts.

“We need to change the rules for working people so pay cannot be cut. The Government should act in the interests of working people, not multinational corporations who clearly have too much power.

“Whilst unions are out fighting for workers rights, it’s a shame that the Turnbull Government won’t lift a finger to help working people.”