Newcastle lord mayor Nuatali Nelmes has joined a campaign to stop peak body Clubs Australia cutting weekend penalty rates for licensed clubs employees.
Clubs Australia is facing a rebellion from some of its 6500 member clubs after applying last year to the Fair Work Commission to abolish the Registered and Licensed Clubs Award and move employees to the Hospitality Industry Award.
The commission cut penalty rates for the hospitality award in February.
Club Macquarie, Newcastle Leagues Club, Denman RSL, Wangi RSL and Kotara Bowling Club are among 14 Hunter clubs which have joined a campaign by union group United Voice against the new award.
Each has submitted a form letter to the commission stating their support for existing award conditions and penalty rates for their employees.
It is understood some club boards have committed to maintaining penalty rates for employees regardless of the outcome of the FWC case.
Union Voice estimates the Clubs Australia application would cost a level-six cook earning $24 an hour about $96 if they worked both days of a weekend. It says the award shift would affect the weekend wages of 1500 permanent full-time and part-time club staff in the Hunter.
Cr Nelmes called on Hunter clubs to join United Voice’s “good clubs” campaign, which recognises clubs for publicly supporting staff conditions and seeks to shame those that do not.
“I stand with our local clubs workers who do not deserve to have their penalty rates cut,” she said.
“I call on all our local clubs across the region to reflect on the right thing to do in this situation and actively join the ‘good clubs’ national campaign.”
Clubs Australia’s application to the FWC argued that licensed clubs were similar to establishments covered by the hospitality award.
“The clubs should not be placed at a cost disadvantage in comparison to other hospitality establishments based on higher employment costs contained in the Clubs Award in comparison to the Hospitality Award,” it said in a submission last year.
The next hearings on the matter begin on October 29.
United Voice’s list of “good clubs” in the Hunter
Cardiff Bowling Club, Club Macquarie; Denman RSL; Dora Creek Workers Club; Fingal Bay Bowls, Sports & Recreation Club; Kotara Bowling Club; Newcastle Leagues Club; Rathmines Bowling Club; Singleton Diggers; Teralba Bowling Club; Toronto District Workers Club; Wangi Wangi RSL; West Wallsend Workers Club; Weston District Workers Club; Windale-Gateshead Bowling Club