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Home > News > 2016 > February > Productivity Commission recommendations put Australian workers’ rights at risk

Productivity Commission recommendations put Australian workers’ rights at risk

penalty_rates.pngA raft of unfair changes to the working rights of Australians have been recommended by the federal government established Productivity Commission inquiry into the current industrial relations system.

IEUA-QNT Assistant Secretary Brad Hayes said our union would fiercely campaign against any recommendations or changes to legislation which would reduce or diminish the working rights and entitlements of Australian workers including our members.

“Our union rejects any moves which would erode the hard won conditions fought for by Australian unions and their members – especially those which would increase inequity and financial disadvantage for workers,” Mr Hayes said.

To assist members in understanding what is at risk, the Queensland Council of Union’s (QCU) has developed a document which outlines seven key areas under threat as a result of the Commission’s recommendations released last December.

They are:

  • Weekend (penalty) rates to be cut
  • A new form of work contract/employer agreements which would undercut Award conditions
  • Removing the limits on contractors, casuals and labour hire undermining permanent work 
  • Weakening unfair dismissal laws making it easier to be sacked and harder to get your job back
  • Employers being able to pay less than the minimum wage 
  • Making it harder to hold onto conditions when a business is bought by a new employer 
  • Providing no penalty rates or day off for any new public holidays

QCU General Secretary Ros McLennan said the Commission has made a range of extreme recommendations that if enacted will radically cut wages, increase the power of employers over employees, and make it harder for working Australians to make ends meet. 

“The Commission’s proposal to cut Sunday penalty rates to bring them in line with Saturday rates would impact the most vulnerable who work who rely on the extra income penalty rates provide,” Ms McLennan said.

“The current weekend rates have strong support in the Australian community – they are compensation for family and social time that shift and weekend workers miss.”

Mr Hayes said our union would continue to support the QCU led campaign against the implementation of any of the report’s recommendations.

“The attack on worker’s rights under the Howard government’s Workchoices legislation has not been forgotten by our members and these latest moves by the current federal government only reinforce why being part of the collective remains essential to the protection of the working rights and conditions of all Australians,” Mr Hayes said.

IEUA-QNT members can support the QCU’s Save Our Weekend penalty rates campaign by signing the petition here.


Authorised by Terry Burke, Independent Education Union of Australia – Queensland & Northern Territory Branch, Brisbane.