The ACTU today announced it will run a national week of action from June 27 to July 3 to support employee rights at work in the lead up to new Federal Government laws that will remove conditions from awards and threaten minimum wages.

Speaking after a meeting of the ACTU’s National Campaign Committee in
Melbourne today, ACTU President Sharan Burrow said:

“When John Howard takes control of the Senate on 1 July, he has said he
intends to use his new power to take away the basic rights of working
Australians, including:

  • Remove conditions from awards;
  • Keep minimum wages low;
  • Use individual contracts to undercut existing rights;
  • Keep unions out of workplaces and reduce the rights of workers to bargain
    for pay and conditions;
  • Abolish unfair dismissal laws for almost half the workforce who work in
    small businesses;
  • Reduce the powers of the independent umpire.
  • For working families who are just keeping their heads above water these
    changes are a major attack on their basic rights at work and their living

    John Howard went to the federal election telling people he would keep
    interest rates low. Now, not only are interest rates going up but the Government
    is going to use its powers to reduce their pay and conditions at work and
    threaten their living standards.

    Unions have today agreed to run a campaign to protect the basic rights of
    people at work.

    The first stage will be a major campaign to inform union members and people
    in the workplace of the Government’s plans and the threat they represent to
    living standards.

    This awareness campaign will build up to a national week of campaign activity
    in workplaces and in communities across the country in defence of people’s
    rights at work.

    We want as many people as possible to contact John Howard and other Liberal
    and National party members to tell them not to use their power in the Senate
    after 1 July this year in ways that may benefit a few big businesses but hurt
    the majority of Australian working families.”