Blaming the penalty rates not so popular

Scratchleys put up this sign to explain why it did not open during the Easter long weekend.

Scratchleys put up this sign to explain why it did not open during the Easter long weekend.

DID you notice the posters during the Easter long weekend? 

‘‘We’d like to be open to serve you. We’d like to give local people jobs. But the penalty rates are too high,’’ they read.

Without making a judgment either way, it seems fair to say that, as far as campaigns go, the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s campaign bemoaning penalty rates on public holidays and Sundays was a hard sell.

Just ask Scratchleys on the Wharf, one of the businesses in Newcastle that slapped the sign up on its doors at the long weekend.

The upmarket  restaurant’s Facebook page was flooded with comments criticising the move, one person writing that the restaurant could ‘‘expect a backlash from those who support penalty rates’’.

The critics weren’t exactly silenced when the restaurant responded that the closure was in fact the result of a unanimous staff vote.

It prompted the inevitable line of questioning: Was it the penalty rates? Or was it the staff’s decision? 

We asked Neil Slater, the restaurant’s owner, to clarify but, after a relaxing Easter weekend, he said he’d rather not get involved in the debate.