Ruminations and recipes from a small kitchen in a big city.


What if a politician turned up to your cafe on Sunday?

Talk about being played for a fool.

Now let's go back a little first. One of my many jobs in the far distant past was in the hospitality industry. I was a wine waiter. I worked weekends. I worked weekdays, too; but weekend work was necessary as well.

Weekend work earned more money. The reason was that fewer people wanted to work on their weekend; it was a supply and demand equation. Then the award was enshrined in law; or rather the concept of the weekend was enshrined in law, a bargaining chip the unions would never let go. The weekend was sacrosanct. No-one goes to church any more, but the weekend remains a quasi-religious occasion. So you get paid more to work. A lot more. Sometimes three times as much.

The other truth - there are always several, despite current beliefs - is that small businesses can't afford multiple staff on weekends, especially Sundays, when trade can be sporadic. Weekdays in the cafe business bring regulars who work close by; weekends bring customers who might decide to brunch in Northcote, Moonee Ponds, East Brunswick or Seddon instead. Four staff at $50 or more an hour times five or six or seven hours means no profit, so you don't open. It's a no-brainer. Weekends are sacrosanct for workers, but owners will open on the same day at a loss? Don't be ridiculous.

So the Fair Work Commission reduced penalty rates. I couldn't see them bringing down the same result under a Bill Shorten government, before checking with Bill that he could roll it. No problems checking with Bill, they're all mates. It's a Labor club.

But we don't have a Bill Shorten government. We have a Coalition government. You beauty, said the FWC. Bring it on.

A landmine.

It's blown up in Turnbull's face. What does he do? Nothing, beyond muttering about more jobs being created because lower wages mean more to go round. Cold comfort for the worker.

Are you serious?

This week, we have a disgraced Labor politician who has just (9.30 a.m.) been chucked out of the Labor Party for hiving off a hundred grand of taxpayer funds for beach house money; we have a Liberal minister who forgot she just bought a house. No, not Sussan Ley, that was last month. Michaelia Cash. Wait, isn't Michaelia Cash the minister for employment? Responsible for among other things, part-time work?

This is nuts.

That self-same thieving, amnesiac political class says, "Hospitality staff, in order that we run Australia better, you are required to pool the contents of your pay packet with your fellow staff. Now, where's my limousine, I'm off to the airport/Bruce Springsteen concert/global warming convention."

Those baseball bats they sold out of at Rebel Sport for home invasion and carjacking protection are going to do double time at upcoming elections. Look out politicians.

1 comment:

Melbourne Girl said...

Couldn't have put it better myself KH. I'm so tired of the damn hypocrisy