Poll shows strong opposition to IR changes

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Poll shows strong opposition to IR changes

Fewer than one in five Australians agree with the Federal Government’s new IR changes, according to the Morgan Poll released today.

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Fewer than one in five Australians agree with the Federal Government’s new IR changes, according to the Morgan Poll released today. 

The figures

Nearly half (49%) of Australians disagree with the proposed Industrial Relations reforms, only 17% saying they agree, and 14% unable to say. Twenty percent say they have never heard of them. 

Only 10% of Australians (unchanged since July, 2005) believe they and their families will be better off under the proposed changes, whilst 39% think they will not be better off and 31% are unsure.  

Union members were more likely than non-union members to disagree with the proposed IR reforms (63% compared to 47%) and less likely to believe that the proposals would be a good thing for Australia (19% compared to 31%).  

Proposed changes 

Unfair dismissal

The Federal Government has proposed that unfair dismissal laws be abolished for employers with 100 staff or less. The Morgan Poll says Australians are overwhelmingly against this proposal, with 66% (down 4% since July, 2005) saying they disagree, compared with 26% of Australians who agree with the proposal and 8% who couldn’t say,

Longer probationary period

Extending the probationary period for new employees from 3 to 6 months is disagreed with by a majority of Australians (54% - up 7% since July) while 41% (down 2%) agree. Five percent couldn’t say.

Cashing in leave

The Government’s proposal that employees be able to cash in two weeks of their annual leave is opposed by a majority of Australians (55% - unchanged) while 40% disagree and 5% were unable to say.

Reforms generally

When asked if, overall, they thought the Industrial Relations reforms would be a good or bad thing for Australia , 50% of Australians believe that they would be a bad thing, 29% believe they would be a good thing and 21% were unable to say.

Comments

Those surveyed were asked if they had any comments or reasons why they disagree with the proposed Industrial Relations reforms.  

Many respondents thought the Howard Government had abandoned the workers and were concerned about workers’ rights, with common responses being:  

  •  ‘John Howard does not have the worker’s benefits and interests at heart’

  • ‘The industrial revolution happened for a reason - to give workers better working conditions. Not all workers have that ability to fight for their rights’

  • ‘I believe they are throwing Australian workers to the wolves. The Australian worker will be seriously disadvantaged. They will be exploited even more than they are now’

  • ‘How would you go? Still a worker, you have to negotiate for your time off, your sick pay, your holiday pay. You have to haggle and fight your boss for all of those things. Not happy’

  • ‘The current Government is trying to put the battler into a weaker position. Little Johnny just wants more power’

  • ‘They are taking away the right of the employee’.

Full report

The special telephone Morgan Poll was conducted on the evenings of October 12/13, 2005, with 662 respondents aged 14 and over Australia-wide. 

The full report can be read here.

Related 

Federal IR changes could rebound 

 

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