Employers should accept the outcome of the federal election and immediately stop trying to push workers onto five year AWA individual contracts.

BHP Billiton has been caught out trying to push its workers into signing AWAs despite the incoming Rudd Labor Government’s plan to abolish AWAs.

BHP is the latest of several employers and employer groups who are rushing to try and put their workers onto AWAs. The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI), the business lobby group with links to the Liberal Party, have also recently encouraged companies to keep using these AWAs.

ACTU Secretary Jeff Lawrence said:

“The federal election was a clear rejection of AWAs and ‘Workchoices’ by the Australian public.

“For over 20 years the Liberal Party and sectional big business groups have promoted individual contracts and an anti-union agenda. But the Australian people have voted overwhelmingly to reject this ideology.

“Companies need to accept that AWAs have been rejected by the Australian people because they are unfair and take away workers’ rights.

“Workers voted at the ballot box for the right to bargain collectively and to reject individual contracts.

“These companies need to respect the wishes of the Australian people and immediately stop the use of AWAs.

“The Rudd Labor Government is clearly committed to getting rid of AWAs and companies should accept this and sit down cooperatively with workers and unions to discuss collective bargaining”, said Mr Lawrence.

AWU National Secretary Paul Howes said of BHPs moves:

“Unfortunately BHP – reporting record profits this year – seems ready to ignore the will of the people to push more workers onto John Howard’s harsh AWAs.

“BHP is joining a list of “renegade employers” who wanted to extend the life of the former Howard Government’s AWAs by bribing workers.

“The community has voted for an end to the ‘WorkChoices’ laws. The Federal Government is committed to abolishing the AWAs by early next year. Despite that BHP is, right now, pushing people to sign five year AWAs”, said Mr Howes.