Gillard runs with IR record


Gillard runs with IR record

Last weekend’s NSW ALP conference witnessed the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, sing the praises of the ALP’s achievements in industrial relations, while indicating no major reforms to the Fair Work system are likely.


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Last weekend’s NSW ALP conference witnessed the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, sing the praises of the ALP’s achievements in industrial relations, while indicating no major reforms to the Fair Work system are likely.

Gillard noted that:
‘…in 2005, Work Choices demolished rights at work, including attacking the penalty rates so many working people need to make their household budget add up.

We fought back and in 2007, the Australian people demolished Work Choices.

In its place, we built a modern and fair system that has got the balance right …

And we will fight to keep it as the onslaught against penalty rates starts up once again — no matter what gets thrown at us.’
Attack on Opposition
She continued with an attack on the Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott:
‘On Wednesday, the Opposition Leader had one of those occasional moments when he accidentally tells the truth.

He said: “There’s workplace relations changes over the last few years that are making it harder for you to stay open on Sundays, after hours, on public holidays ... [employers] do need more flexibility in your workplace arrangements.” …

… when he said “more flexibility”, something tells me he didn’t mean making it easier to get time off when your kids are sick.

So the fight’s on and we will fight it and win it …’
Gillard continued — noting:
‘I am too proud of what we have achieved for working people, to do anything else but fight.

Safe Rates for truckies — we’ve got it done.

New protections for cleaners — done.

New laws to help stop the exploitation of outworkers — done.

A fairer deal for decent workers in building and construction — done.

Reforms to Australian shipping to keep ships under the Australian flag — done.

A Work Force Compact for those who care for our elderly loved ones — done.

And because of Labor, all workers can have security in retirement with our historic increase in super from 9 to 12 per cent …’
Won’t do . . .
Gillard then pointed to changes that will not occur under Labor:
‘We won’t make it easier to sack people.

We won’t make it harder to represent working people.

We won’t enter a race to the bottom in our region on wages.

We won’t make it easier to cut pay or strip conditions like penalty rates or public holidays.

And we won’t bring back a culture of confrontation that sets employer against employee and destroys productivity through conflict.

We will use the Fair Work Act review to lock in fairness, to lock in bargaining in good faith, to lock them in for the future …’
Gender pay gap
The Prime Minister reaffirmed support for equal pay:
‘ … it is hard to convey to you in mere words how proud I am of our actions to close the gender pay gap and achieve pay equity for working women.

First and foremost among the working women we have sought to benefit are our friends in the social and community sector.

Every day, they’re hard at work, leading teams of counselling professionals, taking charge of homes for homeless men and the mentally ill, running women’s refuges, disability support centres and family support services.

Put simply, Australia cannot ever be a fair nation without the efforts of these workers and there are a few of these great people here today; better qualified than workers in most industries — more likely to be women than workers in most industries too.

But their average full time pay has been a lot less.

Getting equal pay for these workers couldn’t be done by a “stroke of the pen”.

It took a Labor promise made in 2007, laws passed in 2008, an agreement struck between unions and Government in 2009, action in Fair Work Australia begun in 2010.

And last year, on the eve of the final decisions, I committed the Government to fund our share of the pay rises which Fair Work Australia was about to decide — thought likely to be worth $2 billion at the time.

After all of that, years of work, on the 1st of February this year, Fair Work Australia made its decision to give equal pay to these workers who had been unjustly treated for so long …

And we’re not waiting for the Liberal states before we fund our share — because frankly, we might be waiting a while.

So today, I can commit to $1 billion more for these workers’ pay; taking our final additional Budgeted commitment to $3 billion over the phase-in period.’
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