A new independent report released today has found that Work Choices has disadvantaged thousands of workers and delivered no significant benefits to the economy.
The report finds that the adverse impact of Work Choices on working Australians will become more widespread as time goes on and provides a warning to voters nationally not to re-elect John Howard and Peter Costello who are committed to taking Work Choices further says the ACTU.
The report follows a six-month inquiry by the South Australian Industrial Relations Commission.
It finds that Work Choices has particularly disadvantaged the most vulnerable workers including the low paid and young people working in shops, cafes, restaurants and bars.
The report finds there is no reliable evidence the Howard Government’s Work Choices IR law changes have increased productivity or flexibility in workplaces.
It also finds there is no evidence that Work Choices has generated increased jobs while around 350,000 South Australian workers have lost protection from being sacked unfairly.
The report also finds that almost 30,000 South Australian workers lost important award conditions such as penalty rates, holiday pay, overtime payments and rest breaks following the introduction of Work Choices and were not entitled to compensation under the fairness test.
Another disturbing finding of the report is that the number of employees that are losing rights under Work Choices is growing rapidly.
It is also worrying that the report found a ‘hardening’ of the attitudes of some employers who regard WorkChoices as permitting them to treat their staff more harshly and less fairly.
ACTU President Sharan Burrow said:
“This report has national significance. It is a warning not to re-elect John Howard and Peter Costello.
“They didn’t tell the Australian public about Work Choices before the last election and they are still refusing to tell the truth about the negative impact of their IR laws.
“Even today, Workplace Minister Joe Hockey is refusing to acknowledge there is anything wrong with the Government’s unfair Work Choices IR laws.
“This report shows the situation for ordinary workers will only get worse if John Howard and Peter Costello are re-elected.
There is no doubt they will go further with Work Choices and even more workers will be pushed onto lower paid AWA individual contracts and lose more of their rights at work” said Ms Burrow.