The peak body for working people has slammed the Morrison Government’s intervention in a failed case that could have seen sick and personal leave rights cut for thousands of people working shifts.

The case between Cadbury owner Mondelez, backed by a Federal Government intervention in the case, and people working at its Tasmanian chocolate factory set important precedent protecting sick leave for shiftworkers.

Mondelez had unsuccessfully argued in the Fair Work Commission for a reduced entitlement for the sick days of people working shift work for the company, saying that because they worked 12-hour days they should be entitled to fewer sick days than the National Employment Standards in the Fair Work Act require.

The company brought a case against two individual workers and their union – the AMWU – in the Federal Court in February this year.

The Morrison Government intervened in the court case – on the side of the company.

After a difficult and lengthy court process in which the workers at Cadbury fought not only their multi-national employer and powerful industry lobbies, but their own national government, they have emerged victorious.

Quotes attributable to ACTU Secretary Sally McManus:

“The fact that the Morrison Government would intervene on the side of a company that is trying to cut people’s personal leave below the legal minimum is a disgrace.

“If Mondelez and the Federal Government had been successful in their case it would have undermined a basic workplace right for thousands of shiftworkers. 

“Working people deserve a Government that is on their side – not one that sides with big business to undermine basic rights like sick leave.

“The Prime Minister needs to explain why his government intervened to support an attack by a multi-national company on the rights of Australian workers.

“And he needs to ensure that neither he nor his Ministers will use taxpayer money to try to cut basic employment standards again.