Change legislation to counter employer militancy: ACTU

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Change legislation to counter employer militancy: ACTU

The ACTU has commenced a campaign aimed at changing Fair Work legislation, to allow workers better rights to bargain for job security and to strengthen access to arbitration.

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The ACTU has commenced a campaign aimed at changing Fair Work legislation, to allow workers better rights to bargain for job security and to strengthen access to arbitration.

ACTU president Ged Kearney stated that unions condemn employer militancy and pledge to improve and strengthen workers’ rights.

Unions yesterday resolved to vigorously defend workers’ rights against a new wave of what unions perceive is employer militancy.

An ACTU media release said that a meeting of unions in Melbourne yesterday ‘condemned the antagonistic and counter-productive behaviour of Australian employers emboldened by the Qantas dispute, and pledged to strengthen protections for workers’ rights against being railroaded by aggressive tactics by business’.

Seeking legislation change

Kearney said the peak body’s Executive had resolved to seek improvements to the Fair Work Act, including allowing workers better rights to bargain for job security and strengthening access to arbitration in an even-handed manner.

‘A new pattern of industrial militancy by employers has emerged following the reckless and disproportionate action of Qantas management to ground its entire fleet and threaten to lock out its workforce last month,’ Kearney said.

‘This deliberate escalation needlessly disrupted the plans of tens of thousands of passengers and caused enormous damage to the national economy and to Qantas’ reputation. It is of serious concern that Alan Joyce and Qantas management claim to have had other major employers endorse this action.’

‘It is clear employers have been emboldened by Qantas’ action, in particular Liberal State Governments, including the Baillieu Government in Victoria, which prepared a secret strategy to provoke an escalation of the dispute with the state’s nurses. None of this is in the spirit of bargaining in good faith, as envisaged by the Fair Work Act.’

‘Harmonious and productive industrial relations are achieved through genuine negotiation and engagement with workers and their unions, not by making them the enemy. Responsible business and political leaders should disown such tactics as counterproductive in the workplace and contrary to the national interest.’

ALP platform
 
The ACTU executive also resolved to pursue explicit reforms in the ALP platform at next month’s national conference to improve the ability of workers to negotiate for secure jobs, and to strengthen the rights of workers to have access to arbitration to settle disputes.

‘Secure jobs matter to all workers. With 40% of the workforce in casual, contract or labour hire employment, unions are determined to campaign in workplaces and communities for a better future for these workers.’

‘We will take this campaign to next week’s ALP Conference and beyond,’ Kearney said.

MUA members vote to accept Sydney Ferries offer 
 
Meanwhile, at a stopwork meeting in Sydney, MUA members approved the negotiated outcome for the transition of Sydney Ferries.
 
Some key features of transitional arrangements are:
  • ‘MUA members employed at Sydney Ferries will get an annual pay rise of 3.25% for the next two years.
  • MUA members will have two years of no forced redundancy, from the date of transfer to the new operator.
  • All permanent members under the MUA EBA will be offered the opportunity transfer across to the new operator and will retain their seniority.
  • All casual employees will be offered the opportunity to transfer to the new operator and will retain their seniority.
  • All leave entitlements will be underwritten by the State Government.’

 

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