John Howard cannot be trusted on industrial relations and there is no doubt the Liberals will take Work Choices further after the election, the ACTU said today.
Mr Howard’s statement today that the Govt has ‘completed the process’ of Work Choices is simply not believable.
A Government document prepared by the Department of Workplace Relations (DEWR) shows that a re-elected Howard-Costello Government would expand the Work Choices system to the entire workforce.
The Government plan specifies a target of an extra 1.5 million workers being pushed onto lower-paid Australian Workplace Agreements (AWA), lifting AWA coverage to 20% of the workforce. Research shows that workers on AWAs earn $106 a week less on average than workers on collective agreements.
The Government plan also aims to reduce the coverage of industrial awards by almost half (from 19% to 10% of the workforce) which would further dramatically reduce workers’ protections for penalty rates, holiday pay, overtime pay, redundancy pay, rest breaks, rostering and other conditions.
ACTU President Sharan Burrow said:
“John Howard didn’t tell the Australian public about Work Choices before the last election and he cannot be trusted on industrial relations in this one.
“Peter Costello is on the record as saying he wants to make further cuts to workers’ unfair dismissal protections — beyond the 4 million workers who have already lost protection under Work Choices.
“Major business groups, including the National Farmers Federation are also calling for the ‘fairness test’ to be scrapped after the election,” said Ms Burrow.
Extract from leaked DEWR tender document – 2007 attached.