Let's Change the Rules this Year

  • 25 February 2019

A big year looms because this is the year, we come together, to Change the Government, and Change the Rules.  Australian workers are ruled by laws which have destroyed job security and left us struggling to pay the bills.  The balance of power in workplaces has shifted too far away from workers.  Once the promise of living in Australia was that each generation would pass on something better to the next.  Better healthcare.  Better education.  Fairer pay.  The cornerstone to all this was a belief that working people should get a fair go, and that we would all share the wealth we helped create.

The workforce of today is vastly different to the workforce of ten years ago.  Our workplace laws from 10 years ago are now not strong enough to balance the power of big business.  Workers’ rights have stagnated whilst the power of big business grows and their business models to make profit have adapted and expanded in ways we could not have imagined.  Our workplace laws must be changed to restore the fair go.

  • Wage theft continues unabated.  Wage theft has become a business model and this business model is rolling on as workplace laws are weak and cannot stop this theft.
  • Penalty rates have been cut impacting on seven hundred thousand retail and hospitality workers slowing growth in retail sales as workers have less money to spend.
  • Insecure work is spreading because the current laws allow it.  Casual work has increased, sham contracting continues unchecked, labour hire is growing, contracting out continues and the so-called gig economy is expanding.
  • Enterprise bargaining is broken.  Nearly one-quarter of working people are now dependent on substandard safety net awards, up eight per cent in eight years.
  • There is no fairness in bargaining where employers can just cancel agreements and cut workers’ pay in the middle of bargaining or just lock workers out.
  • Our minimum wage rules keep full-time workers in poverty.

Last year the Fair Work Commission ruled that although paid domestic violence leave was desirable, under the current rules this was not enough for them to grant it.

Last year the Fair Work Commission denied equal pay increases to Early Childhood Educators leaving workers with laws that are just not capable of closing the gender pay gap for people who work in female-dominated industries, yet Australia has one of the most gender segregated workforces in the developed world.

Temporary visa workers are being ripped off and abused, right in full sight of our government who is issuing these visas.

The Fair Work Commission is being stacked.  Last year the 14th new commission member was appointed by the Coalition Government, too many of these appointees have backgrounds from the extreme end of big business.

No wonder working people now call it the Unfair Work Commission.

Stolen wages.  Workers exploited.  Jobs casualised.  Commissions stacked and politicised.  Wages cut.  Equal pay denied.  Bargaining failing.  Poverty wages.  Workers dying.

This is our national crisis.  It will get worse if there is not change.

Giant steps towards a progressive agenda for Labor in government have been taken with economic and social policies both featuring strongly, with the trade union movement and the Labor Party committing to a shared, unshakable bond of fighting inequality with new industrial laws.

Moving beyond enterprise bargaining, as well as restoring penalty rates, including superannuation in the National Employment Standards and to prioritise pay equity between women and men;

One thing is for sure, under the Liberal-National Government, we won’t get fair pay rises and jobs will continue to become insecure.

To change the rules, we need to change the Government.