Unions welcome the ban on new Australian Workplace Agreements (AWAs) that takes effect today (12 midnight Friday 28 March) but plan to continue the campaign to scrap Work Choices in its entirety.

ACTU President Sharan Burrow said:

“The law to ban new AWAs is an important first step in restoring the rights of Australian workers that were taken away by the former Liberal Government’s Work Choices IR laws.

“But the job is not over yet. This is not the end of WorkChoices.

“Unions will continue to campaign for the complete dismantling of WorkChoices and for the establishment of a fair and balanced IR system that fully protects workers’ rights.

“Unions are determined to achieve laws that give workers:

  • Protection from being dismissed unfairly.
  • The right to bargain collectively to improve our workplaces and an obligation for employers to negotiate in good faith.
  • The right to join and be collectively represented by a union, to access advice and information from unions in their workplace and to have a say about decisions that affect their work.
  • A strong safety net of awards and minimum standards that maintain safe workplaces and a decent standard of living for all workers.
  • A genuinely independent umpire that has the power to resolve disputes and grievances.
  • “Today is an historic day in the campaign to restore workers’ rights.
    “For more than ten years the Liberals and Nationals promoted AWAs as a means to attack workers’ rights and drive down their pay and conditions — from today this is no longer possible.

    “A recent Senate Report confirmed that thousands of Australian workers lost pay and conditions under Work Choices AWAs through the loss of public holiday pay, annual leave loading, shift allowances, overtime pay, penalty rates, redundancy pay & other conditions.

    “Unions now call on employers to respect the will of the Australian people and allow workers to get off a lower paid or substandard Work Choices AWA and go onto a union collective agreement that properly protects their wages, conditions and rights,” said Ms Burrow.