Industrial Relations

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The Greens believe that a strong and vibrant union movement is a central component of a healthy democracy. Without the protection of a trade union, the remuneration and working conditions of all workers are diminished by the economic and industrial power of employers.

We will push for the rights of injured workers to receive full compensation for workplace injuries and the right of unions and unionists to take industrial action without legal impediment, to protect and promote their legitimate workplace interests.

The Greens campaign for greater security of employment for all workers. The NSW Greens are working to extend portable long service leave to all workers in NSW, and we are working with other States to get this on the national policy agenda.

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WorkCover Inquiry

In July 2013 the Greens secured a crucial vote in the NSW Upper House which established a Parliamentary Inquiry into bullying within WorkCover, the organisation responsible for handling operational health and safety in workplaces across NSW, including claims of bullying and harassment.

The vote in support of the Greens motion to establish the inquiry came after a finding in the NSW Industrial Relations Commission that WorkCover had systematically bullied a senior employee out of his job. Read more.

Cuts to Workers Compensation

Industrial RelationsThe Workers Compensation Amendment Bill was rushed through the NSW Parliament in less than 72 hours. The final vote on it was taken at 2:40am early Friday morning, 22 June 2012. The Greens and the Opposition opposed it.

The Bill means that incapacitated workers will have their weekly benefits cut off, with most workers having a maximum entitlement to only 2.5 years of payments.  Many will be forced onto Centrelink benefits and into poverty.

The Bill was preceded by a sham Parliamentary Inquiry, dominated by the Shooters, CDP and Coalition, and which reported just 11 days after it was established. Any genuine inquiry would have taken at least 6 months. The committee received 353 detailed submissions and held public hearings over just three days.  Unsurprisingly, the Committee report called for savage benefit cuts.

While continuing to oppose the legislation, The Greens secured last-minute amendments that mean that fire-fighters and paramedics will be excluded from these savage cuts. Read more.

Attacks on the Public Service

Government legislation forced through in 2011 forces the Industrial Relations Commission to abide by government regulations, not only on wage rises, but also on other fundamental employment conditions such as hours of work and leave loading.

This strips the Commission of its role as a fair and independent arbiter of industrial disputes and also gives Barry O’Farrell complete power over how much public sector employees are paid and how they work.

Public sector wages are currently capped at 2.5 per cent, which is less than inflation.

Retaining the Union Right to Prosecute

The Coalition’s intention to severely undermine workplace safety in NSW was dealt a blow in mid-2011, with the NSW Upper House amending the government’s OHS Harmonisation legislation in key areas. One of the most important outcomes was retaining the union right to prosecute.

NSW is the first state to retain the union right to prosecute in the federal harmonisation process. This is testament to the collective spirit of workers across NSW. Read more.