More than 200 union leaders that have been meeting in Canberra over the past three days have wound up their conference today vowing to take on big companies that don’t respect the rights of employees and continue to exploit workers.
Unions are concerned by the fact that around 1,000 workers a day are being put onto AWA individual contracts by employers rushing to lock their staff into job contracts with lower wages and conditions ahead of the Labor Government’s move to abolish AWAs when Parliament resumes next week.
ACTU President Sharan Burrow said:

“It is very disappointing that so many employers are still using the Liberals’ unfair Work Choices IR laws to undermine the wages and conditions and the rights of their employees.
“A recent report that the rate at which workers are being pushed onto AWAs has continued unabated at around 1,000 new contracts a day show that employers didn’t get the message from the Federal election that the Australian people don’t want individual contracts.
“The fact is that AWA individual contracts give too much power to employers and the vast majority of Australians recognise this as a bad thing.
“Given the emphatic rejection of Work Choices at the recent Federal election it is well and truly time for all employers and the Liberal and National Parties to abandon their support for AWAs and begin sitting down with their employees and unions to negotiate collective agreements.
The ACTU conference also resolved to campaign on:

  • Scrapping Work Choices and building a fair and balanced IR system that is based on the rights of workers to bargain collectively, that has protection from unfair dismissal and a right to have a say and be represented in the workplace through membership of a union.
  • Ensuring the incomes of working Australians keep pace with the cost of living and that workers receive a fair share of the benefits of economic growth while also recognising the need to boost productivity, promote economic growth and ensure a balanced approach to fighting inflation. 
  • Rebuilding a strong safety net of decent wages and conditions through a modernised and simplified system of industrial awards and robust health and safety protections for workers. 
  • Restoring the rights of workers in industries and sectors hit hardest by the Coalition’s IR laws. 
  • Maintaining and improving the living standards of working families by addressing the neglect of the Howard years by investing in social and economic infrastructure that delivers more affordable housing, better public transport and reduced costs for health, education and other services. 
  • A national system of paid maternity leave and more affordable child care as part of a set of new rights and more flexible working conditions of working parents and workers with caring responsibilities.
  • increasing superannuation levels to ensure working Australians have adequate incomes in retirement.