FEBRUARY 9, 2021 – Australian manufacturing workers kept food on supermarket shelves and PPE in our hospitals at the height of the COVID-19 crisis.
Now the Morrison Government’s planned changes to workplace laws could leave these workers behind after they’ve sacrificed so much during this pandemic, the Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union will tell a senate inquiry into the IR Omnibus Bill in Adelaide tomorrow.
The AMWU are opposing changes to industrial relations laws that they say will leave manufacturing workers worse off.
Under the proposed changes bargaining for better pay and conditions would be more difficult, it would be easier for employers to casualise jobs that should be permanent, there would be further wage cuts, manufacturing workers on big projects would have fewer rights and state wage theft punishments would be weakened.
The bill would also allow the Fair Work Commission to approve agreements that do not pass the Better Off Overall Test (BOOT) meaning manufacturing workers could be left significantly worse off. The bill would not only harm workers but be hurt the economy.
Quotes attributable to AMWU National Secretary Steve Murphy
“We do not support a bill that leaves manufacturing workers worse off. We cannot heal the economy by hurting workers.
“This bill is an attack on the heroes who got us through the pandemic. It will lead to more insecure work; worse conditions and no pay rises for at least a decade.
“Our bargaining system is broken. Bargaining with workers for better pay and conditions is already difficult, and these changes only make things worse for workers.
“We will fight against a bill that makes insecure work worse and allows bosses to deny workers their entitlements by labelling them as casuals.”
Quotes attributable to AMWU State Secretary – South Australia, Peter Bauer
“Manufacturing workers in South Australia are the ones who have carried us through this pandemic, we can’t turn around and now sell them short – they deserve better.
“These laws harm working people and they will also stunt economic recovery, leading to low wages and more insecure jobs.
“Our bargaining system is broken. Roadside patrol workers at RAA in Adelaide are a key example of workers who will be left worse off if this bill passes.
“They could be forced onto worse than existing conditions, at below award rates, this is devastating and totally unacceptable.”
Quotes attributable to RAA worker Barry De Pledge (Adelaide)
“I am impacted by our broken bargaining system. We’ve been bargaining with RAA management for over two years and they’ve applied to tear up our enterprise agreement.
“This could mean a huge pay cut and reduced conditions for me and my colleagues.
“I’ve gone two years without a pay rise and if my bosses get their way, I’ll get a whopping great pay cut.
“All we’re asking for is to keep the conditions we’ve got and a modest pay rise. During the last round of negotiations RAA management have tried to cut our bathroom and toilet breaks.
“We already have rules to ensure no one gets paid below the legal minimum, but under the Morrison Government’s plans workers like me could be left with no safety net.”