Facing an uncertain industrial landscape: what the election may mean for workers

 

The Change the Rules campaign included a comprehensive policy agenda, which aimed to return fairness for workers into our industrial relations system.

Workers are now facing an uncertain workplace landscape for the next three years following the reelection of the Coalition government. This is because while other major parties endorsed the Change the Rules campaign agenda ahead of the election, the Coalition made no similar commitment.

The lack of certainty from the Coalition government leaves a host of key issues languishing, including:

  • Mechanisms to support clear transition from insecure work to permanent employment – such as a conversion option after a certain number of rolling contracts;
  • Action on key collective bargaining legislation to rebalance power between employers and employees and support more effective bargaining;
  • Closing loopholes in legislation that make it too easy for employers to pursue the cancellation of existing collective agreements;
  • The restoration of penalty rates;
  • Action on stagnating wages;
  • Empowering the Fair Work Commission (FWC) to more easily settle bargaining disputes;
  • Addressing sham contracting, where workers are forced to obtain ABNs and set up their own business rather then receive a permanent job;
  • A right for long-term casual workers to convert to a permanent position if they choose to; and 
  • Key actions to address gender equality in our workplaces – including better laws to address sexual harassment, 10 days’ paid domestic violence leave and equal pay laws.

Unions will continue to campaign for positives changes that are essential to rebalance Australia’s workplaces.