It’s time to change the rules to restore a fair go to workers
Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) Secretary Sally McManus sent a resounding message in her landmark speech to the National Press Club: it’s time to change our industrial rules and restore a fair go for all Australian workers.
Ms McManus outlined a clear plan to fix the problems in Australia’s industrial landscape that had given rise to flat-lining wages, rising inequality and restrictions upon workers to bargain for fair wages and conditions.
The union movement’s Change The Rules campaign will be a driving force in reshaping Australia’s industrial landscape, as unions seek to return a fair balance of power to workers.
View highlights from Sally McManus' speech in our latest IEU News in 90 Seconds video below:
In her Press Club address, Ms McManus outlined the campaign’s four key pillars:
- More secure jobs;
- Fair pay;
- Enforceable rights; and
- Returning power to workers.
Within these areas, the Change The Rules campaign has identified many changes to laws and industrial rules that would improve workers’ lives.
Some of the most significant reforms under the campaign would be:
- 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 choose to;
- Restoring penalty rates; and
- Improving minimum wage and award conditions for the country’s lowest-paid workers.
Ms McManus said the rules for bargaining are incredibly complex and stacked against workers.
“Employers are organising their entire workforces to avoid bargaining all together by using labour hire, subsidiaries, franchises and outsourcing,” she said.
“Even when workers can bargain, the rules limit their power and protect employer’s interests above all else.
“The ‘nuclear option’ of employers simply terminating agreements has become commonplace and means that all bargaining is conducted under the threat of loss of all previously negotiated wages and conditions.
“This has to end.
“As a result, wages are in crisis.
“We need to give power back to working people to organise and win improvements to their pay and conditions in fair negotiations with their employers.”
In closing her Press Club address, Ms McManus reiterated the only way workers could change the rules and improve their working live was by joining their unions.
“If you want to be part of a movement for change, if you think everyone should pay their fair share of tax, if you want a job you can count on, if you want fair pay rises, if you want the rules to change, then join your union,” Ms McManus said.
Watch Sally McManus’ Press Club Address on ABC iView.
Read more about the Change The Rules campaign at www.changetherules.org.au