This UN Public Service Day, workers stand on the brink. After a decade of brutal austerity, pay cuts and deteriorating conditions, Covid-19 has put staff around the world through the ultimate stress test.
Two Prime Ministers and three Industrial Relations Ministers tried to pass it and yesterday they finally stopped. Thanks to our efforts Ensuring Integrity is off the agenda. Working people in Australia have had the threat of the so called “Ensuring Integrity” Bill hanging over our heads, threatening to break up our unions, to strip away our democratic rights and make it harder to win secure jobs and fair pay. As of yesterday that threat is gone.
Australian Unions have released a comprehensive blueprint for rebuilding the economy and restoring jobs in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis. Before the virus we were living with the devastating effects of thirty years of trickle-down economics: a decimated social safety net, millions of people in insecure work, and stagnant wage growth. Returning to business as usual is not good enough. This is our opportunity to build an economy that works for everyone.
Unions and federal Labor has called on the Federal Government to explain the full extent of the theft from superannuation accounts of Australians and a full review of the scheme as federal police investigate up to 150 fraudulent withdrawals. More than 1 million Australians have sought to withdraw nearly $10 billion from their retirement savings with workers made redundant being allowed to withdraw up to $10,000 from their super before June 30, and another $10,000 after 1 July.
With Australia's economy sinking quickly into a COVID-19 recession, and governments allocating vast new sums to programs to protect Australians against the health and economic effects of the pandemic, an old-fashioned impulse to adopt fiscal austerity is becoming visible among some governments. In particular, leaders of several governments (federal, state and municipal) have already announced plans to cancel normal pay rises for their public servants.
The scale of this union-won package is unprecedented. The JobKeeper wage subsidy, along with the JobSeeker payment, will transform lives and bring many workers and their families back from the brink of economic ruin. If the union movement had not won this fight, workers would be receiving the old Newstart allowance of $40 per day. Now they will get up to double that on JobSeeker as well as no less than $150 per day if they are on JobKeeper. We are calling on every employer who has let staff go or stood staff down to apply for JobKeeper. All employers need to step up.
CPSU has lodged an application with the Fair Work Commission to alter its eligibility rule seeking consent to extend our coverage to persons employed or engaged to work in any private prison or correctional facility in South Australia. Questions about the application can be directed to Mark Perica of the SPSF Group
CPSU has collated the working from home arrangements and adapted provisions across each State. Casual and fixed term employees have been protected and paid special leave for up to 20 days is available in NSW, Western Australia, and Victoria, with 15 days in South Australia. This also includes an overview of information available from other unions. Information is changing rapidly as more services are put on pause so we're hoping the information here is as relevant as it can be.
- NEW SOUTH WALES
Exclusion from the workplace