The ACTU national executive will meet in Melbourne today to launch a national phone hotline that will provide advice to people treated unfairly at work and to highlight the human cost of unfair dismissals.

Speaking in advance of the meeting ACTU President Sharan Burrow said:

“The Government has a ‘sack and pillage’ policy for the more than three
million Australians working in small businesses who can be sacked for no reason,
with no right of appeal and no entitlement to redundancy pay.

Unions will meet today to prepare strategies in response to the Coalition
Government’s radical industrial relations agenda.

As a first step, unions plan to campaign vigorously in support of people
sacked unfairly and to ensure federal parliamentarians are made aware of the
devastating human costs of the Howard Government’s radical industrial relations

Under the Government’s proposed unfair dismissal laws more than three million
Australians who work in small businesses can be sacked without a valid reason
and without the right of an appeal.

The Government also intends to prevent people working in small businesses who
are unlucky enough to lose their job from receiving redundancy pay.

If the Government succeeds in pushing the new laws through the Senate in the
final two sitting weeks of the year people working in small businesses may be
faced with the threat of losing their job without any reason or right of appeal
in the lead up to Christmas.

Depression, lack of confidence, difficulty finding new work and financial
stress are common effects of unfair dismissal or unfair treatment at work.

Unions are determined to actively represent people who experience bullying,
harassment or discrimination at work.

People treated unfairly at work are urged to phone the ACTU Hotline for
advice and help.

The national free call phone number for the ACTU Hotline is 1300 362 223.

Unions will also be reporting the effects of unfair dismissal cases to all
federal parliamentarians to make sure they understand the human costs of the
Coalition’s radical industrial relations agenda.”