Change The Rules
Our union’s capacity to resolve the issues our members face is frustrated by Australia’s current broken industrial laws.
We need changes to laws and industrial rules to improve workers’ lives, including:
- An overhaul of the bargaining system to make it easier for employees to bargain for better wages and conditions;
- The right for casual employees to transition to continuing employment if they so choose;
- Restoring penalty rates; and
- Improving minimum wage and award conditions for the country’s lowest-paid workers.
The rules need to change, and our union is working to do just that alongside our colleagues across the country through the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) Change The Rules campaign.
Power needs to be given back to working people to organise and win improvements to their pay and conditions in fair negotiations with their employers. The only way workers can change the rules and improve their working lives is by joining their union.
- ACTU Change The Rules campaign hub
- IEU News in 90 Seconds - Sally McManus' National Press Club Address on Change The Rules
- Independent Voice - Change The Rules feature edition
Labour Day / May Day will take place during the long weekend of 5-7 May 2018, with celebrations scheduled across Queensland and the Northern Territory.
The message IEUA-QNT members will be sharing this Labour Day and May Day is, It's time to Change The Rules.
The disregard with which employers hold the collective bargaining system has been most recently demonstrated by Carinity Education – a division of the Queensland Baptists.
From the moment the employer entered into collective bargaining negotiations mid-last year, it became evident that their intention was to force employees onto a sub-standard agreement and cut a range of current working conditions. Despite serious member concerns resulting in protected action by employees across Carinity Education schools, the employer seemed embolden by the current industrial climate, putting out to ballot a non-agreed proposal to employees late last year. Unsurprisingly, Carinity Education employees rejected the substandard offer from the employer.
Carinity Education continues to force sub-standard conditions on its workers despite the vocal rejection by employees. The employer’s complete lack of respect for their staff is obvious, but what is also plainly obvious is that they can have confidence that current industrial laws allow them to do so.
In 2016, Queensland Catholic school employers were relentless in their attempt to frustrate members’ ability to take protected action. Our union ticked every box to ensure the protected action followed the correct process. Part of the protected action was a ban on attending staff meetings.
However, employers seemed set on their agenda to stop members’ voices being heard, and began an argument surrounding the definition of “staff meeting”. The employers’ challenge was an intentional attempt to obstruct protected action and disengage workers from the collective bargaining process.
The employers’ refusal to acknowledge any definition of a staff meeting other than their own led to a challenge in the Federal Circuit Court, where the employers were prepared to spend tens of thousands of dollars on legal representation and assistance all to create distraction, and disregard their responsibility to listen to their employees.
Employer threats to withdraw existing collective agreements highlight the need for employees to avoid complacency when it comes to keeping their working rights and conditions.
This has been evidenced at a Brisbane kindergarten where inappropriate advice and a lack of consultation resulted in the employer attempting to terminate their collective agreement.
The kindergarten’s current agreement was agreed to by the then Committee in 2016 and was to remain until the end of 2018. However, employees at the kindergarten were told that their rates of pay and conditions would be subject to individual common law contracts of employment.
Introducing individual employment contracts for each employee contains no security in an employee’s wages and conditions and could instead result in reduced wages, increased hours of duty, increased attendance at the kindergarten and the mandating of additional work requirements.
It is clear that a broken collective bargaining system — with laws that allow employers to terminate agreements — contributes to downward pressure on wages and conditions. Many employers are now treating collective bargaining with a sense of indifference and it is now time for our industrial rules to change.