The practice of employers threatening to terminate existing agreements if workers refuse to sign on to a new EBA has exploded in recent years and has given employers immense power in the bargaining process. This has occurred in universities, railways, factories, ports, airlines and hundreds of other workplaces across the country.
Svitzer, Australia’s largest tug boat operator, is currently threatening to terminate its existing EBA, a move which would cut pay for workers – including the crews involved in the recent rescue of a bulk carrier stranded off Sydney – by up to 40 per cent.
The ACTU welcomes the commitment from Minister Burke that the Albanese Government intends to address this issue.
Quotes attributable to ACTU Secretary Sally McManus:
“Using the threat of termination as a bargaining tactic is just unacceptable. The law was never intended to operate this way and this loophole is being used and abused by bad employers.
“Allowing employers to threaten massive cuts to pay and conditions unless workers sign on to a new EBA is not a fair process.
“We need to fix our broken bargaining system so that it produces the wage growth working people and the economy needs to get back on track. This is one of the issues that needs to be addressed.
“After a decade of inaction and neglect under the previous Government it’s encouraging to see a Government standing up for working people and doing what is needed to get wage growth moving again.”