Victorian Trades Hall today launched its campaign against the Howard Government’s proposed changes to the industrial relations system during a meeting at Dallas Brooks Hall where delegates committed to fight for a fair and universal system that protects workers.

In 2005, while interest rates rise and businesses make record profits, the
government wants to cut the wages of Australian workers. From 1 July, upon
taking control of the Senate, the Federal Government plans to rip up the
workplace rulebook and remove the fair standards applying to all workers.
Federal Workplace Relations Minister, Kevin Andrews, refuses to guarantee that
no worker will be worse off under the proposed changes. This means workers WILL
be worse off. Australians will work harder, longer and for less pay.

Victorian union members vowed to stand up to this and passed a resolution

  • Comprehensive and reasonable award wages and conditions and a regular
    minimum wage adjustment set by an independent AIRC (Australian Industrial
    Relations Commission)
  • A system that applies to all workers without discrimination
  • The right for workers to organise and collectively bargain (at either the
    workplace or industry level) and not be forced into inferior individual
  • The right to join a union and have immediate access to union advice,
    assistance and advocacy
  • The right to take industrial action and not face fines or jail
  • Unions plan a strong campaign aimed at forcing the government to rethink its
    position on industrial matters. Victorian unions endorsed a stop work and rally
    on 30 June, the day before the government gains control of the Senate where they
    are expected to use their majority to force through a raft of changes aimed at
    curtailing a wide range of hard-won workers’ rights.

    The resolution says the real problem lies with the Federal Government’s lack
    of investment in skills and infrastructure, not industrial relations.

    Union delegates called on the ALP nationally to commit to fighting against
    these changes and to reverse any changes when in office and urged the Bracks
    Government to explore all possible means, including legislation, to protect
    Victorian workers and their families.

    Delegates were urged to form a united front in Victoria and nationally
    conduct a long-term campaign against these changes and the Howard Government.

    They endorsed the ACTU resolution of March 16, urging all unions to stop work
    and attend the FAIR FOR ALL RALLY on Thursday 30 June and commit to promoting it
    in workplaces, industries and communities. They urged other states to do the
    same and endorse the need for further action in late August/September. All
    delegates were encouraged to hold a workplace meeting to discuss these issues
    and to call on their employer to reject the Howard agenda.

    What you can do:

    Get active in your work place and your community!

    Here are some practical ways of ensuring that you and your workmates are not
    forced to work harder for less.

    1. Pass a workplace motion opposing the Government’s proposals and calling on
    your employer to guarantee that your current wages and conditions will be
    maintained and that they will respect your right to collectively bargain.

    2. Make an appointment with your local federal member of Parliament and
    present the motion to him/her. Let them know how the changes will disadvantage
    you and your family.

    3. Talk to your workmates who are not in a union about why there has never
    been a better time to join and why if the government gets their laws through, we
    will have to stick together to keep our livelihoods. Work towards majority union
    membership in your area by talking to people and educating them about how these
    changes will affect them.

    4. Stay informed and involved through checking the Trades Hall and ACTU
    websites for regular updates ( or ) and becoming involved in
    your union.

    5. Take your message to the community. Ring talkback radio and tell them how
    your life and the life of your family will change for the worse if you have to
    work harder and longer for less pay. 3AW (03) 9696 1278, 3LO 1300 222 774,
    Regional Drive 1880 033 800. Speak at your local sports club, parents group,
    community group etc. about the changes. Your union and Trades Hall will have
    material available to help you explain these changes to others.

    Stop Work and Rally
    June 30
    10am Trades Hall