‘Secure jobs’ should be election issue: ACTU

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‘Secure jobs’ should be election issue: ACTU

All parties must commit to preserving the weekend and tackling insecure work, according to the ACTU.

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All parties must commit to preserving the weekend and tackling insecure work, according to the ACTU.

The Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) has called on all parties to ensure they make secure jobs an election issue and commit to enshrining penalty rates in law to preserve the weekend for Australian workers.

Speaking at the National Press Club in Canberra this week, ACTU secretary Dave Oliver also called for an ‘entitlement portability’ scheme to ensure workers in insecure work had access to sick leave and annual leave.

Campaign this year

Oliver said the union movement would make its push for secure jobs a major part of its campaigning this year, up to and beyond the Federal Election.

‘Finding a solution for the rise of insecure work, and its effects on workers, families and communities should be a priority for all political parties,’ Oliver said.

‘Forty per cent of Australians are in insecure work of some kind and many are not able to access sick leave, carers leave or annual leave.’

‘These workers are often low-paid and need these entitlements to cope with family emergencies.’

Oliver said that the union movement would campaign for a system of portable entitlements to ensure workers in insecure work were able to benefit from sick leave and annual leave.

‘We believe that the decent wages and entitlements that have made Australian jobs the best jobs in the world need to be defended.’

‘The union movement does not accept it is necessary or desirable to transfer risk on to the shoulders of workers.’

‘In many parts of the construction industry, entitlements travel with workers from job to job, and there is no reason why this cannot be extended to other sectors.’

Enshrine penalty rates

Oliver said that all political parties needed to commit to enshrining penalty rates in law to ensure workers required to work weekends were adequately compensated.

‘Weekend work is often necessary, but there should be recognition that weekend workers sacrifice time with friends and family, and penalty rates provide that.’

‘That’s why we’ll be asking the government to enshrine penalty rates in law.’

ACTU right, but protect workers from Abbott before election: Bandt

Greens Deputy Leader and employment spokesperson, Adam Bandt, has offered his party’s support to protect people’s rights at work and insulate Australians from an extreme Abbott Government by legislating before the Federal election including on leave portability and penalty rates.

Responding to a National Press Club speech from ACTU secretary, Dave Oliver, Bandt welcomed calls for Parliament to pass laws for greater job security, better work–life balance and protection of people’s rights at work.

‘The Greens want a strong, clean economy that gives people job security and better work–life balance,’ said Bandt.

‘The Greens offer to work with the government over the remaining few sitting weeks, legislate to protect peoples’ rights and work and insulate Australians from a brutal Abbott-led attack.’

‘The Greens have legislation before Parliament to tackle job insecurity and give people a better work–life balance. Labor should heed the ACTU’s calls and get behind the Greens’ bills.’

‘I look forward to talking with unions and others about whether to protect penalty rates and introduce portable leave schemes by amending current Greens’ bills or whether to introduce new legislation.’
 
‘We have a golden opportunity to put people’s rights at work beyond the reach of a potential Abbott government. With Greens in the Senate balance of power after the next election, legislation we pass now won’t be able to be repealed.’

The Greens’ Tackling Job Insecurity Bill is currently before a House Committee for inquiry. The Greens’ Better Work–Life Balance Bill is due to be voted on.
 
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