Unions condemn attempt to reduce worker safety
A recent attempt by the state opposition to reintroduce laws which would undermine current workplace health and safety entitlements has been rejected by unions and state parliament alike.
IEUA-QNT Branch Secretary Terry Burke said the attempt last month by LNP to reintroduce legislation which would require 24 hours’ notice for accredited workplace health and safety representatives to enter and inspect unsafe workplaces was a case of history repeating itself.
“The former LNP Newman government introduced a 24-hours-notice provision saying that unions should have to give 24 hours’ notice before entering a work site.
“However, the provision was reversed by the current state government as one of their first acts of parliament in recognition of the threat it placed on employees’ workplace health and safety,” Mr Burke said.
Queensland Council of Unions General Secretary Ros McLennan said the LNP are “very slow learners” when it comes to workplace health and safety.
“Taking away workers’ rights and endangering safety were the exact reasons that the LNP got the boot after one term and lost its massive majority,” Ms McLennan said.
“But they are stuck on the same track of attacking workers and their representatives - it’s as if it’s an instinct they can’t suppress.
“I am pleased that the crossbenchers answered the question - will keeping unions out of unsafe workplaces be more or less likely to improve workplace health and safety?”
She said the answer is simple - keeping unions out of unsafe workplaces puts workers at risk.
“Whatever the supposed benefits of delaying entry into unsafe workplaces are, they are far outweighed by the ability for immediate access even if that only saves one life or prevents one illness or injury,” Ms McLennan said.