In a nutshell:What the government wants to do
Here is a brief guide to the reduction in the rights and entitlements of working Australians that are being proposed by the Federal Government.
1. Get rid of the state industrial relations systems.
State IR systems provide greater protection that the federal system for workers with strong awards and independent umpires who are able to step in and resolve disputes;
2. Change the way minimum wages are set to make sure they don't increase as quickly.
For over 100 years the independent Australian Industrial Relations Commission has decided on the pay rises for workers on minimum award rates each year.
It will no longer be able to do that with the job given to a panel hand-picked by the government. The panel will be under no obligation to grant a yearly increase.
3. Use individual contracts to undercut existing rights and conditions.
Your pay and conditions at work now are covered by comprehensive awards. Any enterprise agreements negotiated or individual contracts cannot undercut those awards.
But under the proposed changes new agreements will only have to match five basic standards. Those five are: a minimum hourly rate, 8 days sick leavel, four weeks annual leave, unpaid parental leave and maximum weekly hours. Anything else currently in the award such as shift penalties, overtime rates, redundancy pay, casual loadings and leave loadings can be dropped.
4. Reduce union right of entry.
The government wants to impose drastic restrictions on the rights of workers to have union representatives visit and support them in the workplace. Who wins from this? Dodgy employers.
5. Abolish unfair dismissal law protection for the four million people working in businesses with less than 100 staff.
Under the proposed changes if you work in a business with less than 100 staff you can get fired for no reason. Sound fair?
6. Reduce the powers of the Industrial Relations Commission to settle disputes and set minimum standards for workplaces.
The government doesnt support a strong independent umpire and under its proposals it will be harder and harder to get them to step in and help settle a dispute. Its a move towards the sort of dog eat dog workplace relations that the United States has.
Why not send a message to the government that these changes are not on?
Health Services Union of Australia