Advertising campaign puts human face to work changes

To view the TV ads online click here

The TV and radio advertisements, to run in all capital cities and regional areas, are designed to raise awareness that the changes will take away key rights at work. The advertisements show how taking away rights to unfair dismissal can wreak havoc on Australian families and how individual contracts will undermine job security and take home pay.

ACTU President Sharan Burrow said research showed that few Australians were aware of the changes being proposed - but that once they understood the changes they overwhelmingly opposed them.

"Now that he has control of the Senate John Howard is trying to take away workers' rights by pushing through complex legal changes with little public debate. The challenge for unions is to make the public aware about what is at stake and hold the government accountable for this attack on working families."

The advertising campaign will be backed by action in workplaces and communities around the nation, as unions mobilise opposition to the changes.

"Making work less secure impacts on families and the community. These laws are not just an attack on unions they are and attack on the living standards of every Australian worker. They would be a backward step for working families at a time when many of them are already struggling just to keep their heads above water", Ms Burrow said.

The workplace changes announced by the Federal Government include plans to:

  • Abolish protection from unfair dismissal for 3.6 million workers employed in companies with less than 100 staff
  • Allow employers to put workers onto individual contracts that cut take-home pay and reduce employment conditions to only 5 minimum standards - workers who refuse to sign may fear being sacked
  • Change the way minimum wages are set to make them lower
  • Effectively abolish the award safety net and replace it with just 5 conditions - a minimum hourly rate of pay (currently $12.75), 8 days sick leave, 4 weeks annual leave, unpaid parental leave and weekly working hours. Many workers will lose conditions like weekend, shift and public holiday rates; overtime; redundancy pay; and allowances and loadings.

Unions believe the changes threaten the basic rights, pay and entitlements of Australian workers and a national week of union and community action is planned for June 27 - July 1.

Media Contact: Meagan Telford 0409 510 879

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