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  • McDonald's restaurant, in Encinitas, California, September 9, 2014.

    McDonald's restaurant, in Encinitas, California, September 9, 2014. | Photo: Reuters

Published 20 May 2016

McDonald’s increase of a higher base pay rate for employees was “not enough” to compensate for the lack of penalty rates on weekends and late nights.

McDonald’s is giving Australian staff a “rotten deal” after late night bonuses were traded for a higher base wage, said an official from the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) on Friday. McDonald’s and the union responsible for the agreement, however claim that overall workers are better off from the deal.

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Senior industrial officer at the NTEU, Josh Cullinan said after investigating McDonald's working arrangements, found that McDonald’s higher base pay rate of 6.6 was “not enough” to compensate for the lack of penalty rates on weekends.

“Six percent doesn’t cut it when it comes to losing 50 percent on a Sunday, especially if most of your hours are on a Sunday,” he was quoted by ABC Australia.  

“We’ve got the actual rosters, the actual wages, the actual ages and even the name of these workers, and we’re able to see that of 170, 107 of them are worse off to the tune of $AUD1000 a head and these are 14-year-olds, 15-year-olds … At the moment the evidence makes it absolutely clear.”

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The Union responsible for McDonald’s workers, the Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees Association (SDA), rejected the claims. Gerard Dwyer, SDA national secretary said that under the current agreement “the workers, the workforce overall is better off.”  

McDonald's Australia released a statement on the issue claiming that "any inference that we 'under-pay' our people by having an Enterprise Agreement is simply wrong … McDonald's is open and transparent about our wage structure and working conditions; our Enterprise Agreement is freely available to everyone."

Under an agreement struck three years ago, the chain's staff traded away their weekend and late night penalties for a higher base rate.

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