|Issue No 115||12 October 2001|
Stark Differences on Workers Rights
The major parties have unveiled dramatically different policies for workers -with Labor protecting entitlements while the Coalition pushes for further deregulation.
After pre-empting a new attack on workers rights for some weeks, the Prime Minister today unveiled a series of measures aimed at weakening employees powers to bargaing collectively.
- empowering the Industrial Relations Commission to move from umpire to police officer and undertake prosecutions against unions on behalf of small businesses.
- abolish unfair dismissals rights for employees in small businesses
- make the secondary boycott provisions of the Trade Practices Act even more Draconian
- forcing workers to undertake a secret ballot for taking part in industrial action.
Beazley Secures Awards, Entitlements, Super
In contrast, the ALP based its industrial relations policy around strengthening workers rights through protecting entitlements and turning back the tide of deregulation.
Addressing a group of displaced Ansett workers at Brisbane airport, Beazley said Labor comprehensive job security plan would make the lives of working Australians fairer, safer and more productive.
"Under John Howard, Australians have come to fear for the security of their jobs, their wages, their conditions, and even their legal entitlements in the case of company collapse," Beazley said.
The policy includes specific commitments to:
· Protect 100 per cent of workers' entitlements when the employer becomes insolvent.
· Protect 100 per cent of superannuation entitlements from theft and fraud, and require super payments to be made quarterly rather than annually.
· Strengthen the independence, authority and resources of the industrial umpire to safeguard the wages and conditions of employees.
· Strengthen the award system to guarantee decent wages and conditions of employees.
· Establish an industrial inspectorate to ensure awards and agreements are properly enforced.
· Boost resources to protect workers' occupational health and safety.
"A fair, safe and productive workplace is central to the prosperity and development of Australia's economy and society. It is also central to the wellbeing and security of Australia's working families," Beazley says.
"It is time for John Howard's war of attrition in the workplace to end. Labor's plan will give all Australian workers the security they want and deserve."
Unions Focus on Job Security
The policies have been released as the ACTU urged Australians to vote for the political party that most clearly demonstrates its long-term commitment to jobs and jobs security.
Launching the ACTU's election theme - tell John Howard it's over - President Sharan Burrow said the election was critical to the security and wellbeing of working people, small business owners, and the investment and business community.
"At a time of great uncertainty in the world, every vote is vital for the future security of our families, our communities and our nation," she said. "Australia can grow and prosper in the future, but only if we all work together.
ACTU Secretary Greg Combet has endorsed Labor's policy as striking a balance between the interests of workers and employers.
"It respects the right of workers to bargain collectively and the role of the independent umpire and there is a genuine plan to protect workers entitlements," Combet says.
"It's in stark contrast to the industrial relations agenda pushed by the Howard Government towards confrontation and division, fear in the workplace and greater insecurity about employment."
The full list of seats being targeted by the ACTU and unions can be found on the ACTU's website http://www.actu.asn.au.
Interview: Connecting the State
NSW IT minister Kim Yeadon is the man responsible for enabling the people of NSW. Here's how he's doing it.
Workplace: The Enemy Within
In the IT industry it's the recruiters who are earning the workers' ire, as our special correspondent explains.
Unions: From the Virtual Coalface
Computer programmer Vince Caughley argues there is a place for unions in the IT industry.
History: Conditions Precedent
Frank Bongiorno writes that the recent events off the coast of Christmas Island recall a story once told by Paul Hasluck.
International: Victims of Terrorism
Repression against trade unionists on the increase world wide, with 209 trade unionists assassinated last year, reveals ICFTU 2001 Survey.
Campaign Diary: Week One: Get Shorty
Labor's first week of campaigning was as an effort to gain attention from a nation rocked by the telvised war on terrorism.
Economics: Global Alliances
Ray Marcelo reports from India that the ILO is arguing that globalisation needs a worker and employer alliance.
Health: The Phantom Menace
Trade unions made an impact this week at an international congress In Melbourne in the global fight against AIDS.
Review: Rings of Confidence
In his study on the 2000 Olympics, Tony Webb argues that the government and unions reached a new level of cooperation.
Satire: Greens 'Quietly Unconfident' of Forming Government
A leaked memo from a senior member of the Greens reveals the party is unconfident of winning government on November 10.
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Last Modified: 15 Nov 2005