The peak body for working people has called for the independence and authority of the Fair Work Commission to be restored so the body is able to deliver fairness for working people.

In a speech to think tank Per Capita on Friday, ACTU Secretary Sally McManus will outline changes that will enable the industrial umpire to be an effective “one-stop shop” for resolving disputes and addressing mistreatment at work.

The changes would see working people able to enforce their legal rights quickly, easily and without a cost.

It would allow disputes between working people and big business to be resolved more fairly, negating the unfair advantage big business holds in an expensive and technical court process.

The proposed reforms include:

– The power to make orders that will see victims of wage theft repaid in full in a faster, more efficient process than the current expensive and drawn out court processes

– The power to make decisions based on what is fair and reasonable in a broad range of matters, including applications to vary the minimum wage and ensure that awards keep pace with community standards

– Empowering the umpire to resolve workplace disputes fairly and quickly

Quotes attributable to ACTU Secretary Sally McManus:

“At a time when big business has too much power, working people need a strong umpire to help restore the balance.”

“To end wage theft, restore fair wages and make our jobs more secure, we need to be able to enforce our rights.

“But when working people today try to enforce their legal rights they’re faced with a complex, costly and overly technical court system.

“A strong and independent umpire in the workplace is a vital part of changing the rules so Australians can have more secure jobs and fair pay rises.”