Gridlocking cities not necessary before Govt would listen, says Andrews

News

Gridlocking cities not necessary before Govt would listen, says Andrews

Protesting workers wouldn't need to gridlock city streets over the Federal Government's IR laws if the ACTU's claims about opposition to WorkChoices were true, Workplace Relations Minister Kevin Andrews said at a press conference yesterday.

WantToReadMore

Get unlimited access to all of our content.

Protesting workers wouldn't need to gridlock city streets over the Federal Government's IR laws if the ACTU's claims about opposition to WorkChoices were true, Workplace Relations Minister Kevin Andrews said at a press conference yesterday.

Andrews said that if workers were angry about the changes they would be 'flocking' to join unions. He claimed 'there is a great disconnect out in ordinary Australia between this campaign by the unions and what people are saying'.

Andrews said he had just been to NSW, WA and NT 'and what businesses around Australia are saying to me over and over again is we are trying to find enough workers to do the jobs that we have to do in Australia. That's the great concern, not this campaign from the ACTU'.

Level of concern

'If there was the level of concern about these changes which the ACTU and the unions are suggesting, then it wouldn't need the gridlocking of streets around Australia to do that. It wouldn't need that sort of level to bring this home,' he said.

Andrews also said a remark by ACTU Secretary Greg Combet 'that there used to be the day when the unions ran the country and it'd be a good idea if they ran it again' is 'very, very telling'.

Combet comment

He said the current ACTU campaign is 'simply about the unions wanting to retain their powerful position within the country and the great sadness about all of this is that Kim Beazley and the Labor party are caving into Greg Combet and this sort of pressure'.

Combet: remarks 'a joke'

However Combet said his remark was a joke made to a meeting of workers in Adelaide.

'The comments were met with the laughter and levity with which they were intended,' he said.

'The comments have been deliberately taken out of context and misrepresented by the Prime Minister and the Employment Minister. The ACTU and unions support the democratic process of electing governments in Australia.

'However, in the democratic process it is very important that governments listen to both sides of an argument and do not favour sectional interests. In the industrial relations debate the Howard Government has only listened to big business and it has refused to take into account the views of working people. That is the real bias in Australian politics.'

Related

ACTU plans week of action over federal IR laws

  

 

Post details