Thursday, February 21, 2008

ACTU: WorkChoices still not dead

ACTU President Sharan Burrow today said:

"Work Choices is far from dead and AWAs are far from gone.

"The Liberals’ decision today to cave in and allow a shorter Senate Inquiry into the Labor Govt’s proposed ban on new AWAs is politically motivated.

"It is crystal clear that the Liberal and National Parties are not genuine in agreeing to ban AWAs and scrapping Work Choices.

"The Liberal Party is the Party of individual contracts. It is the party of big business and it is the Party that invented Work Choices.

"Whatever political trick that Brendan Nelson, Julie Bishop or Malcolm Turnbull are trying to pull today, everyone knows that the Liberal Party is committed to using individual contracts in the workplace and to giving employers more power at the expense of workers.

"The history of Work Choices shows that the Liberal and National Parties cannot be trusted on industrial relations.

"They went to the 2004 election without telling the Australian public they would introduce the most radical IR changes in 100 years and when they won the election they went ahead with Work Choices and hurt hundreds of thousands of working Australians along the way.

"New Government figures released yesterday by the Minister for Workplace Relations Julia Gillard, show just how badly workers were hurt by Work Choices AWAs.

"Of the sample of AWAs examined by the Workplace Authority, 70% of workers lost their shift work loading, 68% lost annual leave loading and 65% lost their penalty rates. Almost nine out of ten workers (89%) on a WorkChoices AWA lost at least one protected award condition, while 56% lost six or more award conditions.

"The Liberals should apologise to all the workers that were hurt by Work Choices AWAs and guarantee they will support the second stage of Labor’s plan to scrap Work Choices, due later this year," said Ms Burrow.


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