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Women workers benefit from Government policy



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MINISTER FOR INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS^

'The Government's system of workplace bargaining protects all workers against exploitation, ' the Minister for Industrial Relations, Senator Peter Cook, said at the Women, Management and Industrial Relations Conference in Sydney today.

1 Recent changes to the Industrial Relations Act make it easier for all workers to achieve workplace agreements, but the Australian Industrial Relations Commission must ensure that agreements do not disadvantage the workers they cover.

'This will be of particular benefit to women workers by protecting accepted standards such as maternity leave, redundancy entitlements and superannuation.

1 If we're to create and sustain a globally competitive economy we need to encourage, use and reward all those who contribute to making it so. .

'We would be foolhardy as well as unjust if we refused to recognise the need for affirmative action at work. It's not just wrong, it's a criminal waste to allow large groups of workers to be used as factory fodder.

'The new workplace bargaining legislation promotes flexibility in the workforce while at the same time protecting vulnerable workers with little or no bargaining power.

'The opposition would dismiss all these safeguards as sheer sentimentality. Their system of industrial relations may scrap the award system and minimum award wages and standard working conditions would be threatened.

'They say they would continue to support EEO and affirmative action in principle but they would abolish the Affirmative Action Agency which helps companies to put these principles into practice. . *

'Such a policy is dangerously misconceived and detrimental to the interests of women workers and the wider community.

'The Government's system recognises that it is vitally important to protect vulnerable workers and provide opportunity for them to improve their position. And this is not only in the name of social justice. We need to use the potential of all Australian workers if we're to realise our dream of making Australia a

truly competitive economy.'

S E N A T O R P E T E R COi

5 August 1992

WOMEN WORKERS BENEFIT FROM GOVERNMENT POLICY

For more information contact:

Ministerial: Don Mackay 06 2777320 Departmental: Phil Drever 06 2437408