Howard facing IR 'fact campaign' not 'scare  		campaign', says Labor

News

Howard facing IR 'fact campaign' not 'scare campaign', says Labor

Labor is cranking up its attack on industrial relations, with Opposition spokesman Stephen Smith saying the Federal Government is now facing a ‘fact campaign’, not a ‘scare campaign’.

WantToReadMore

Get unlimited access to all of our content.

 

Labor is cranking up its attack on industrial relations, with Opposition spokesman Stephen Smith saying the Federal Government is now facing a ‘fact campaign’, not a ‘scare campaign’.

‘This is a first for the Prime Minister and, of course, it is very significant because to date he has been saying that as soon as the so called “scare campaign” is over, it will all be fine,’ Smith said.

‘The problem for the Prime Minister is that he is now faced with a “fact campaign”.’

Smith said Spotlight’s 2 cents an hour wage rise in exchange for giving up penalty rates and overtime, and the survey which showed that all AWAs registered since the WorkChoices legislation came in removed at least one protected award conditions, were ‘facts’.

 

AWA survey

 

He said the AWA survey showed more than 60% excluded penalty rates and leave loadings, over 50% excluded shift loadings and 16% excluded all protected award matters.

‘This is precisely the point of the Spotlight AWA, the 2 cents an hour AWA: penalty rates, leave allowances, shift loadings, all these things excluded in a one line throwaway in the AWA for two cents an hour,’ he said.

Smith said the Government was moving part of the economy from the wages section to the profit section.

‘It’s just about driving wages down,’ he said. ‘It’s not about trying to make us a more productive society or a more wealthy society or a more creative society or a more enterprising society.

 

Inferior conditions

 

‘You basically get someone and say you either have a job at massively inferior terms and conditions than award rates which currently prevail, or you don’t have a job.

‘It’s about employing people for less money. It’s not about employing more people for less money.’

Opposition Leader Kim Beazley said on radio that the mark-ups on the sort of product that Spotlight has in its shops ‘produced, most of it, in China and imported is magnificent’.

‘They can afford to pay their workers a great deal more,’ he said.

 

Not much choice

 

Asked if the fact that a worker accepted a Spotlight AWA proved ‘that at least those workers are satisfied with what’s being offered’, Beazley said: ‘It proves they don’t have much choice.’

‘People have to work, people need to make a quid,’ he said. ‘People also need to borrow money for mortgages. People need to be able to keep their families, pay their very high premiums now for health. They’ve got to be able to fill the tanks of their cars.’

Beazley claimed that ‘John Howard’s changed’.

‘When he came into office, he made a big point of addressing himself to Middle Australia. Now he goes off with elite preoccupations - you know, let’s have a discussion about whether or not we’ll have a nuclear reactor in Rosebud,’ he said.

 

Pay mortgages

 

'And the real issues that affect ordinary people, whether they can pay their mortgages, how they can look after their families, how they get access, because Australians are very hard working - basically what they’re doing in ripping away these industrial conditions.

‘In ripping them away, they’re actually affecting the capacity of people to lead a decent life.’

Related

 

All AWAs remove award conditions, OEA reveals

Spotlight AWA wage cuts could be good for the economy: Howard
 
Cowra abattoir win means bosses can sack and rehire at lower wages

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


 

 

Post details