Workers Rights

Mr DAVID SHOEBRIDGE ( 02:52 ): Let u s be clear : T he Greens members support the right to strike. I will say it again : W e support the right to strike. That i s why we will always support the right of workers and unions to take collective action to protect their industrial rights and working conditions. Industrialaction is how we got the eight- hour working day, collective ba rgaining, leave entitlements and a workers compensation scheme. Workers’ rights were not just handed to them . Those rights were fought for on the picket line by generation after generation. But now , whether it i s the slashing of penalty rates, attacks on building u nions t hrough a politicised r oyal c ommission or the increasing casualis ation of our workforces, those hard- fought industrial rights h ave come under sustained attack . T hese attacks hit the disadvantaged in our comm unities the hardest— such as young uni versity students who rely on their Sunday pay rate to make ends meet, women who are more likely to face job insecurity on casual contracts , or migrants who all too often find themselves being exploited in our workplaces . That is why T he Greens fundament ally believe that standing up for workers’ rights means standing up for a fairer society.

W e recently learned that Domino’s P izza workers were being ridiculously underpaid. Several managers alleged that they were ordered to manipulate payroll data to ensure that labour costs were belo w 27 per cent of sales. This year i t i s Domino s, last year it was Coles and the year before that it was 7 -Eleven . As former Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions Ro bert Corr put it: “Bosses rip off their workers because they can.” The uni on movement has be en hamstrung by anti-union laws like the Federal Fair Work Act that greatly limits the right to s trike, effectively criminalising it in most circumstances , and the abolishment by the New South Wales Government of the Industrial Relations Commission. W e are left with the Fair Work Ombudsman at the Federal level,which is a toothless tig er with no statutory power to enforce fairness. In fact, the last time that the Fair Work Ombudsman even mentioned a prosecution in itsannual report was 200 8.

If our industrial laws and our workplace rights are n o t being enforced, what chance do workers have of getting a fair go in their workplace? So much ofthe collective effort from the progressive side of politics has been spent on protecting and defendi ng hard-won historic rights. However, The Greens strongly believe we must not remain on the defensive; we need to advocat e and organis e for new rights and fresh ways to support dignity and decency at the workplace. That is why we are working with unions an d our members to bring in portable long service leave, new public holidays, more secure employment , a decent rate of superannuation and a much fairer share of work. I am proud to be a member of The Greens— a party that will always stand up for equal pay, safe workplaces and the right of workers to be members of strong and democratic unions.

, , , ,

Comments are closed.