New Industrial Relations Minister Kelly O’Dwyer has continued her predecessor’s intervention in a major court case, supporting a multi-national employer trying to cut the number of the personal and carer’s leave days of people working shifts from 10 to eight.
The decision in the case could affect millions of people working shifts throughout the country and funnel hundreds of millions of dollars of working people’s leave allowances into the pockets of big business owners.
Minister O’Dwyer is siding with multinational food giant Mondelez in a Federal Court case that concerns the leave rights of people working at the Cadbury factor in Tasmania who work shifts longer than 9.6 hours. The case has the capacity to affect millions of people working shifts in Australia.
The Fair Work Act specifies that people should receive 10 days personal and carers leave. But Mondelez and O’Dwyer will argue that that for those on 12-hour shifts should only get eight paid absences for personal or carers leave. The workers are being represented by their union, the AMWU.
The Minister and the company will argue that an existing precedent from a Full Bench of the Fair Work Commission, supported by the Federal Court, is wrong.
The case is expected to be heard by the full Federal Court.
Quotes attributable to ACTU Secretary Sally McManus:
“One of Kelly O’Dwyer’s first acts as Industrial Relations Minister has been to support a multi-national company’s attack on workers’ rights that could see millions of people working shifts have their personal and carers’ leave entitlements drastically cut.”
“Whether it is cutting penalty rates, keeping wage growth at record lows or undermining basic rights like sick leave and carers’ leave this government knows only one way – back in the big end of town.
“When the Fair Work Act says 10 days personal leave, it means 10 days. But Kelly O’Dwyer is spending taxpayers’ money to back big business and undermine workers’ interests.”