The Federal Election is an opportunity for working families to protect their rights at work and vote against the Liberals’ and Nationals’ unfair WorkChoices IR laws says the ACTU.

Commenting on the election date announced today, ACTU President Sharan Burrow said:

“The Howard Government’s WorkChoices laws have taken away important rights and conditions such as public holiday pay, penalty rates, redundancy pay, overtime pay and protection from unfair dismissal.

“At the last election, the Liberals and Nationals did not tell the public about their plan to introduce WorkChoices and strip away workers’ rights but went ahead and did it anyway.

“This election is the first chance for the Australian public to tell John Howard and Peter Costello what they think about their unfair WorkChoices IR laws.

“WorkChoices has already hurt hundreds of thousands of working families, including:

  • Workers in small and medium sized businesses that have lost protection from being sacked unfairly (nearly 4 million workers).
  • Low skilled employees on AWA individual contracts that earn on average $106 a week less than workers on collective agreements.
  • Workers in cafes, shops and restaurants including large numbers of young workers that have been hit hardest by WorkChoices and have lost up to a third of their take home pay (1.7 million workers).
  • Low paid workers that have experienced a cut in real terms to their minimum award wages under the Howard Government’s new pay commission (1.5 million workers).
  • Women who now earn less, on average, compared to men than they did when John Howard was elected eleven years ago.
  • “This election is a very important opportunity to stop the Coalition from going further on industrial relations if it gets re-elected,” said Ms Burrow.