Hospitality war erupts over weekend penalty rates

THE hospitality union has taken the Fair Work Commission to court over its decision to reduce weekend penalty rates for restaurant workers.

First reported two weeks ago, United Voice on Friday lodged an application for a judicial review of the decision to halve penalty rates for casual hospitality workers.

The case relates to the commission's mid-May decision that Sunday penalty rates should be lowered from 50% to 25% (down from time-and-a-half to time-and-a-quarter).

Union acting national secretary David O'Byrne said the appeal was on the grounds that an earlier decision in October last year did not support a pay cut for such employees.

"As there was no legal error in Deputy President Gooley's decision in October 2013 to retain penalty rates in this industry, we believe the commission did not have jurisdiction to cut the wages of these workers, who the commission acknowledges are already lowly paid," Mr O'Byrne said.

"This pay cut is a bitter blow for workers who give up their Sundays so the rest of the community can enjoy time with their family and friends."

The case is scheduled for a directions hearing in mid-July.