Industrial Relations Minister Christian Porter has announced a review of workplace laws focusing on a big business wish list which could lay the groundwork to further reduce workers’ rights and embed exploitation in legislation, at the same time ignoring the low wage growth and insecure work crises which have become the defining features of work under the Morrison Government.
The review will focus on:
- The definition of casual work, where employers have argued for more power to simply deem jobs as casual, denying workers paid leave entitlements and reducing their job and income security.
- The enterprise bargaining better-off-overall test, where employers have pushed for new rules which allow them to leave vulnerable workers worse off.
- Speeding up approval of new agreements where like under WorkChoices agreements were rubber stamped and not checked by an independent body to ensure they comply with the law
- Reducing workers protections from being unfairly dismissed by cutting compensation
The review has been hastily thrown together with a six- to nine-month timeline and objectives sourced directly from the business lobby at the request of the Prime Minister.
Quotes attributable to ACTU Secretary Sally McManus:
“After refusing to even mention Industrial Relations during the campaign, The Morrison Government is now running as fast as it can to satisfy the business lobby.
“Mr Porter says this review will benefit workers and employers but the only proposals he has any interest in would gut workers’ rights and entrench exploitation.
“Meanwhile, the Morrison Government has no plan to address low wage growth. Six years of near-record low wage growth is causing massive reduction in consumer spending and slowing the entire economy.
“Millions of people are locked into insecure jobs with low wage growth, insufficient hours and minimal rights. Rather than protecting workers this Government is setting out to ensure that the power of big business is protected by law.
“This is a government which has no agenda of its own and is fast becoming a puppet for the business lobby’s attempts to reduce wages and erode conditions.
“The Prime Minister asked the business community for a wish list, a day later the Industrial Relations Minister announces a review into IR based on that wish list.
“Working people should be very concerned at these developments. Now is the time to join your union and stand up for your rights to a secure job and fair pay.”