Workers face uncertain industrial landscape
Workers are facing an uncertain industrial landscape for the next three years, following the re-election of the Coalition government.
While other major parties had endorsed the Change The Rules campaign agenda ahead of the election, the Coalition had made no similar commitment.
The Change The Rules campaign includes a comprehensive policy agenda, which aims to return fairness for workers into our industrial system.
The lack of certainty from the Coalition government leaves a host of key industrial issues languishing, including:
- Mechanisms to support clear transition from insecure work to permanent employment – such as a conversion option after a certain number of rolling contracts;
- Action on key collective bargaining legislation to rebalance power between employers and employees and support more effective bargaining;
- Closing loopholes in legislation that make it too easy for employers to pursue the cancellation of existing collective agreements;
- The restoration of penalty rates and further action on stagnating wages;
- Introduction of sector-wide bargaining to support enhanced bargaining in industries with a large number of smaller employers – such as the early childhood education sector;
- Empowering the Fair Work Commission (FWC) to more easily settle bargaining disputes;
- Addressing sham contracting, where workers are forced to obtain ABNs and set up their own business rather than receive a permanent job;
- A right for long-term casual workers to convert to a permanent position if they choose to; and
- Key actions to address gender inequality in our workplaces – including better laws to address sexual harassment, 10 days’ paid domestic violence leave and equal pay laws.
IEUA-QNT Branch Secretary Terry Burke said the refusal from the Coalition government to announce clear industrial relations policy ahead of the election meant workers now face deep uncertainty on key industrial matters.
“Australian workers are now in a situation where they cannot be sure how our industrial system will look for the next three years,” Mr Burke said.
“While many workers were expecting action from a new government on key issues such as insecure work, collective bargaining and stagnating wages, it may now be the case that they face inaction – or even further cuts – on these crucial industrial matters."
Mr Burke said the union movement's Change The Rules campaign had succeeded in bringing industrial issues to the forefront of public consciousness, particularly when it comes to wage fairness.
“Unions will continue to campaign for the positive change that is essential to rebalance Australia’s industrial system.”
To find out more about the Change The Rules policy agenda, visit www.qieu.asn.au/changetherules