The Abbott Government’s latest attack on workplace rights comes in the form of sneaky changes to regulations that will give the big miners and the WA State Liberal Government greater powers to stop lawful industrial action.

ACTU Secretary Dave Oliver said Minister Abetz’s sneaky and underhanded use of regulations to curb the right of workers to take industrial action was disgraceful.

“The changes to these regulations give the West Australian Government standing under the federal system without the state having to extend the protections of the Fair Work Act to workers,” Mr Oliver said.

“Basically, Mr Abetz has bypassed the Parliament and significantly lowered the bar for employers seeking to stop legal industrial action.

“Third party employers will now only have to show they had been directly affected by industrial action, or would be directly affected by a threatened strike.

“More and more the Government is taking away the bargaining power of workers and their ability to take protected industrial action.

“What we are seeing here is the Federal Liberal Party giving their State Liberal Party mates a leg up to push their ideological agenda – and that’s a one way street for big business and a dead end for workers.”

Mr Oliver said that the Abbott Government’s actions since September prove they deliberately misled the community about their intentions for workplace reform during the election campaign.

“Tony Abbott and his Government know the Australian people will reject their toxic views on industrial relations whenever they eventually decide to be honest about it,” Mr Oliver said.

“The terms of reference for the delayed Productivity Commission review are a complete repudiation of the Mr Abbott’s pre-election promise to workers that wholesale changes were not on the agenda.

“It’s clear that the Government’s ultimate intention is to put the whole workplace system on trial – pay and conditions, minimum wage, rights at work, collective bargaining and unfair dismissal.

“In the meantime they will use whatever opportunities they can to curb the rights of hardworking Australians across our nation.”