The Coalition is jeopardising Australian jobs with its short-sighted political grandstanding over the latest economic stimulus package, unions said today.
The $42 billion package will provide an immediate shot in the arm to business and consumer confidence, create and sustain employment, provide valuable infrastructure for schools and housing, and help reduce carbon emissions.
ACTU President Sharan Burrow said it was a timely response to growing concerns about the magnitude of the economic slowdown and its impact on unemployment.
But the latest stunt by Malcolm Turnbull puts all that at risk, she said.
“The Coalition’s hasty rejection of the package threatens workers’ jobs in the name of political opportunism,” Ms Burrow said.
“We can only hope that the other parties and independents in the Senate will see sense and pass the legislation to allow the money to begin flowing.
“The economic downturn is too dangerous for petty point-scoring.
“If the package fails to be approved, Mr Turnbull must accept responsibility for jobs lost in coming months.”
Representatives from the ACTU and the union movement will today call on the government to include labour market measures in a further stimulus package that require business to retain, retrain and upskill staff, including apprentices.
“Any taxpayer support for business should include a mutual obligation to retain all staff, to consult with workers on potential impacts of the downturn on their jobs, to provide adequate notice of changes to hours and rosters, and support fair industrial relations practices, including collective bargaining.
“Employers must not put the interests of shareholders and profits ahead of their workers and use the economic downturn as an excuse to slash job conditions.”
Ms Burrow said the Coalition must reverse their opposition to the stimulus package to protect Australian jobs, and must also end their hedging over the Fair Work Bill and support the abolition of Work Choices.
“At a time of great economic insecurity, Australian workers need secure jobs and strong protections for their wages, conditions and rights.”