Morrison government backs legal bid to cut sick leave
The Morrison government’s intervention in a legal case to reduce sick leave entitlements for shift workers shows just how little it cares for Australian workers.
The case concerned multi-national corporation Mondelez, which owns Cadbury, and shift workers at its Tasmanian chocolate factory.
The employer, with the support of the Morrison government, argued for a reduced sick leave entitlement for shift workers because they worked 12-hour days.
Australia’s National Employment Standards (NES) provide for 10 days of paid personal leave per year.
For Cadbury employees working ordinary hours of 12-hours per day this would mean an entitlement to 120 hours' sick leave. Mondelez argued those workers should receive 76 hours (on the basis of 10 working days of 7.6 hours).
The employer’s case was first struck down in the Fair Work Commission (FWC).
Mondelez subsequently pursued the issue in federal court, bringing a case against two Cadbury workers (pictured, right, in front of the Federal Court in Melbourne) and their union, the Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union (AMWU)
On Wednesday, 21 August 2019 the full court handed down its decision in the Mondelez v AMWU case and ruled in favour of upholding workers’ right to 10 full days of sick leave per year.
The outcome has far-reaching implications for shift workers around the country, including those embroiled in similar cases before the federal court where employers are pursuing cuts to sick leave.
Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) Secretary Sally McManus slammed the Morrison government for making an intervention in the case.
“The fact that the Morrison government would intervene on the side of a company that is trying to cut people’s personal leave below the legal minimum is a disgrace,” Ms McManus said.
“If Mondelez and the federal government had been successful in their case it would have undermined a basic workplace right for thousands of [Australian] shift workers.
“Working people deserve a government that is on their side – not one that sides with big business to undermine basic rights like sick leave.”
Members wishing to show solidarity with AMWU members, who secured a union win in this case, can do so via Facebook.