Since its formation in 1927, the ACTU has been the peak trade union body in Australia. There is no other national confederation representing unions. For 90 years, the ACTU has played the leading role in advocating in the Fair Work Commission, and its statutory predecessors, for the improvement of employment conditions of employees. It has consulted with governments in the development of almost every legislative measure concerning employment conditions and trade union regulation over that period.
The ACTU consists of affiliated unions and State and regional trades and labour councils. There are currently 43 ACTU affiliates. They have approximately 2 million members who are engaged across a broad spectrum of industries and occupations in the public and private sector.
The ACTU and its affiliated unions founded industry superannuation and won the right for all workers to be entitled to super. The ACTU continues to be a leader in the superannuation sector, advocating to ensure workers retain rights over their deferred wages, and that superannuation delivers adequate retirement outcomes for workers.
This Bill allows employers who have been underpaying their workers for 26 years to not only escape penalties, but to gain a tax advantage. Rather than taking steps to rectifying the ongoing injustice, the Government, once again, takes the side of unscrupulous bosses who have been ripping off their workforce. The Superannuation Guarantee Charge has been in place for a generation, despite this the Government is claiming that ignorance is a justifiable defence for breaking the law. Workers suffer real hardship due to unpaid superannuation and this is particularly acute for those immediately facing retirement or recently retired.
The amnesty does nothing for workers and should be scrapped in favour of new measures allowing workers, their unions, their superannuation funds and the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) to proactively enforce and recover superannuation entitlements.