ACTU President Sharan Burrow will use her 2005 May Day address in Brisbane to warn Australians that many of the basic rights at work they currently take for granted will be threatened if the Federal Government goes ahead with its IR reform plans.

Sharan Burrow said:

“May Day is a time to reflect on the great achievements and
contribution that working people have made to our nation.

“But this year May Day is also a time for Australia to reflect on what
we have to lose if the Howard Government goes ahead with its plans to strip
Australian workers of many of their basic rights and protections at

The Howard Government has said that it will use it control of the Senate
after July 1 this year to:

  • Remove employment conditions from awards;
  • Change the way minimum wages are set to make them lower;
  • Use individual contracts to undercut existing rights and
  • Keep unions out of workplaces and reduce workers’ negotiating and
    bargaining rights;
  • Abolish redundancy pay and protection from unfair dismissal for 3 million
    people who in small businesses across Australia;
  • Reduce the powers of the Industrial Relations Commission to settle disputes
    and set fair minimum standards at