Della Bosca fears wage-cutting AWAs 'tip of the iceberg'

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Della Bosca fears wage-cutting AWAs 'tip of the iceberg'

NSW Minister for Industrial Relations, John Della Bosca, believes the recent revelation that 100% of AWAs under the WorkChoices legislation have stripped at least one award conditions is ‘just the tip of the iceberg’.

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NSW Minister for Industrial Relations, John Della Bosca, believes the recent revelation that 100% of AWAs under the WorkChoices legislation have stripped at least one award conditions is ‘just the tip of the iceberg’.

He said a survey by the Commonwealth’s Office of the Employment Advocate (OEA) revealed at a Senate Estimates Committee Hearing shows about 16% of individual contracts entered into since 27 March traded away all protected award conditions.

Guarantee is a sham

‘Workers, too afraid to question the terms, have been forced to trade away holiday and sick leave, penalty rates and overtime,’ Della Bosca said.

‘Time and time again, in the lead-up to the introduction of WorkChoices, the Federal Workplace Relations Minister assured us that award conditions would be protected by law.

‘This guarantee has now been exposed as a sham.

‘The survey also shows 22% of agreements did not provide for a wage increase during the life of the agreement, some of which can last up to five years.’

Other AWA survey results reveal:

  • 64% did not retain leave loading
  • 63% did not retain penalty rates
  • 52% did not retain shift loadings
  • 44% did not retain substitute public holidays
  • 41% did not retain gazetted public holidays
  • 27% removed public holiday pay

‘With the new WorkChoices laws being introduced only two months ago, the race to the bottom - to cut wages and entitlements - has begun at a blistering pace,’ Della Bosca said.

‘I fear that this is just the tip of the iceberg. Almost 6,300 AWAs have been lodged between the introduction of WorkChoices and the end of April,’ he said.

Fear of economic slowdown

‘With companies reducing entitlements during economic boom times, it raises concerns about what would happen to people’s workplace conditions if there is an economic slow down.’

Della Bosca said that last year the Howard government spent $55 million ‘to tell us that our award conditions would be protected by law’.

‘Now they are spending millions more to promote agreements that in every single case have removed these protected award conditions,’ he said.

ACTU Policy Co-ordinator George Wright said: ‘Already we are seeing large numbers of hard working Australians suffering a cut in their take home pay and the loss of important working conditions. Penalty rates, shift allowances, leave loading, rest breaks and public holidays are all getting the chop as employers use the new IR laws to axe award entitlements.’

Related

All AWAs remove award conditions, OEA reveals

Workplace protection just ‘smoke and mirrors’, says top lawyer

 

 

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