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A fairer balance between industrial relations and the economy: address to the National Press Club, [Barton, ACT]: 13 September 2006.
A Fairer Balance Between Industrial Relations and the Economy ACTU 13 September 2006
A speech by Greg Combet, ACTU Secretary, to the National Press Club outlines how the Howard Government is losing the debate over its IR laws and failing to address the real economic challenges facing Australia.
A Fairer Balance Between Industrial Relations and the Economy
Greg Combet, ACTU Secretary Address to the National Press Club, 13 September 2006
The Howard Government is losing the debate over the new industrial relations laws not only because the laws are unfair. It is also losing because it has been dishonest. It has failed to argue a case for the changes, choosing instead to try to deceive people about the effect of the laws, and the motivation for them.
Here are some of the facts about the new IR laws.
The Government's new IR laws
Millions of people employed in businesses with less than one hundred staff have lost protection against unfair dismissal. And as a consequence, they can be sacked arbitrarily without any opportunity for independent review or redress.
Workers in businesses with more than one hundred staff can also be unfairly sacked provided their employer cites operational reasons for doing so. And those same operational reasons can be and have already been used to sack people and offer them their job back on inferior terms and there are a couple of people who've come all the way from Cowra today, one of whom was one of the meat workers' delegates at the Cowra Abattoir and it's exactly what happened to them. Sacked, twenty offered a job back, thirty percent pay cut.
In addition, the laws of course have changed the way in which minimum wages are set in Australia and now the wages of more than 1.5 million people who depend upon minimum award pay increases, they've effectively been frozen and their ability to keep up with rising prices and interest rates is now in the hands of this rather opaque and I think unaccountable institution called the Fair Pay Commission.
Now this organisation touted that it was going to consult with minimum wage workers in the new approach by going out into the community and talking to them about their experience of life. When it came down to it they outsourced that role to a public relations firm.