Australian Unions have welcomed today’s commitment by Senator John Madigan to vote against the new anti-worker laws Tony Abbott is trying to rush through the Senate and have urged the rest of the crossbench Senators to do the same.

ACTU President Ged Kearney said everyday Australian workers can’t afford Tony Abbott’s plan to cut their wages and conditions.

“The Abbott Government is determined to deliver what business and employers want, and swing the pendulum back to them,” Ms Kearney said.

“This means more insecurity at work and less rights at work.

“If three out of the eight Senate crossbenchers vote against the Fair Work Amendment Bill – Tony Abbott’s attacks on workers will be defeated.

“That’s why we are appealing to all of the crossbench Senators to stand with Australian workers to protect their rights at work.”

Tony Abbott proposed new laws under the Fair Work Amendment Bill will:

• Strip protections for workers on individual contracts to cut wages and penalty rates
• Allow workers to be paid with something other than money
• Make it easier for a boss to rip you workers by having them sign away their right to compensation.
• Take away workers’ right to strike by allowing bosses to veto industrial action
• Gives mining and construction employers a special deal to write their own Enterprise Agreements.
• Make it harder for workers to access and be supported by their union at work.

Ms Kearney said the Abbott Government has a clear agenda to strip away workplace rights, wage and conditions from everyday Australians.

“The Government is starting with the Fair Work Amendment Bill in the Senate before it launches a Productivity Commission review of workplace laws with terms of reference that may as well have been written by big business,” Ms Kearney said.

“Tony Abbott and the Coalition Government can repeat their mantra of workplace reform being ‘evolution not revolution’ – but no one should be fooled. This is the first step of the Coalition’s agenda to strip away worker’s rights and wages.

“Whatever the Government calls it and however they plan to do it, the end result is still the same – workers will be worse off under the Government’s anti-worker agenda.”

People can join the campaign to convince the crossbench Senators to protect workers’ rights at:

Media contact: Carla De Campo, 0410 579 575 or Kara Douglas, 0418 793 885