A campaign for change

Restaurant & Catering is right in the thick of our More Jobs, More Shifts and More Choices campaign.

The campaign was effectively borne off the back of research that R&CA conducted for the Fair Work Commission hearings into penalty rates. This research found that if there was a flat weekend penalty at the Saturday rate, 39,600 jobs would be created on each Sunday and public holiday.

This job creation story has been enhanced by an examination of who the industry employs. In particular, the fact that 43% of the workforce is aged between 15 and 24. This tells a very positive story about the impact that penalty rate changes would have on youth unemployment, which is a significant issue for Australia.

The analysis of employment in the research was supported by the Productivity Commission Draft Report into Workplace Relations. This report conducted an analysis of opening hours of restaurants in New Zealand (without Sunday penalties) and Australia (with). The result was that New Zealand restaurants are open 25.6% more hours on a Sunday—compelling in a Productivity Commission report.

The reaction to the campaign has been very strong. The launch in Adelaide at the beginning of September drew attention from almost every news outlet in the state. Subsequent presentations around the country have all attracted strong support.

The level of media attention is starting to change consumer attitudes. This is evident in letters and comments. Australians are beginning to accept that Sunday and public holiday penalties are too high and that we are losing out.

John Hart

CEO, Restaurant & Catering

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