Time to deliver on new workplace laws: ACTU

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Time to deliver on new workplace laws: ACTU

The ACTU has renewed its call for quicker government action to introduce new federal industrial laws.

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The ACTU has renewed its call for quicker government action to introduce new federal industrial laws.

The union body noted that signs of a slowdown in the economy underline the need for the urgent scrapping of WorkChoices and restoration of a strong safety net of rights and entitlements for Australian workers.

‘Economy an excuse’

ACTU president Sharan Burrow said it was wrong that business groups were now using the economy as an excuse to further postpone the Rudd Government’s new laws.

'It’s mischievous for business groups to link the slowdown in economic conditions with the restoration of rights at work,' Ms Burrow said.

'On the contrary, concern about job losses underlines the importance of having strong protections for workers entitlements and a good faith bargaining system that provides both certainty and injects shared growth into the economy.'

'Any businessperson worth their salt should recognise that the best way of achieving high productivity and profits is through a co-operative relationship with your workforce, not the nasty, hostile approach of Work Choices.'

Ms Burrow said big business was simply trying to hold onto WorkChoices for as long as possible. This follows a concerted lobbying campaign by business to water down key elements of the Labor Government’s policy to restore workers rights to collective bargaining, protection from unfair dismissal, and an independent industrial umpire.

‘Before the end of the year’

Ms Burrow said that despite the business push back, working Australians who voted to restore rights at work expect to see the new laws through Parliament before the end of the year.

'It’s time for all politicians to deliver on last year’s election mandate given to the government to demolish WorkChoices,' Ms Burrow said.

'We understand the necessity to get the detail right for laws that will provide the safety net for working families for decades to come, but this can be achieved in this parliamentary year.'

'The Rudd Government’s proposed new laws must stop companies like Telstra from refusing to bargain in good faith and refusing to accept the choice of their workers to be represented collectively by a union.'

Ms Burrow concluded that any signs of an economic slowdown that could lead to job losses was concerning. Earlier this year, the ACTU repeatedly warned the Reserve Bank to be cautious because lifting interest rates too sharply could set back the economy.


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