The ACTU said that the Labor Party’s transitional industrial relations arrangements announced today were an important step towards restoring rights for working families in Australia.

The ACTU President, Sharan Burrow and ACTU Secretary Jeff Lawrence said that Labor’s commitment to getting rid of the unfair WorkChoices IR laws and restoring important rights ensured that workers have a real choice at the next Federal Election.

In particular the ACTU welcomes Labor’s commitment that a Rudd Labor Government would:

  • Restore unfair dismissal protections for the over 4 million workers who lost their rights under John Howard’s WorkChoices IR laws.
  • Protect important working conditions in an improved safety net – conditions like penalty rates, overtime, public holiday pay, shift allowances and redundancy provisions. 
  • Phase out the Government’s unfair AWA individual contracts. 
  • Provide workers with stronger collective bargaining rights.
  • Ms Burrow said that while the union movement supports Labor’s commitment to getting rid of WorkChoices, the ACTU does not support elements of the transitional IR arrangements announced today.

    In particular, the ACTU believes that AWAs could be abolished sooner, and opposes the current restrictions on union right of entry and the continuation of the ABCC.  The ACTU also opposes limits of the application of the award safety net to workers earning over $100,000. 

    ACTU President Sharan Burrow said:

    “Unions have ensured that workplaces and rights for working families are at the centre of this election campaign.  We welcome Federal Labor’s commitment to getting rid of WorkChoices, and while we believe that the transitional arrangements are too drawn out, rights at work for Australian workers will be restored under Labor.”

    ACTU Secretary Jeff Lawrence said:

    “The ACTU will continue to campaign against attempts by the Liberal Party and the business community to denigrate the legitimate role of unions in standing up for working families in this country.  Unions stand up for working people every day and we have the courage to take on employers that exploit workers. 

    “We are proud of the fact that we fight for things like proper pay and conditions, protection from unfair dismissal and the right of workers to bargain collectively and that is exactly what we will continue to do.”