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.

 

Not good enough – A statement from IEU National about NAPLAN

Whatever the merits of an ‘online’ NAPLAN, the simple fact is that there is an extraordinary imposition on schools to deliver this new platform.

Schedules and re-rooming arrangements impact the entire school.

‘NAPLAN coordinators’, a thankless task assigned to some poor souls in schools, have been busy in recent days and early mornings this week to try to ensure that the technology at the school is operational and ready.

Rescheduling of classes to access limited devices for the online test means interruption to teaching and learning across the school.

So, when the system fails through no fault of the school, there are significant stress and work intensification issues that confront school staff across Australia.

The goodwill of school staff, teachers and education support staff, is fundamentally abused when the system fails to work.

The failings in the last two days, no matter how limited, but certainly much broader than reported, cannot and should not be tolerated.

There seems to be little appreciation for the scale of additional work and internal re-organisation that is required in schools to deliver NAPLAN.

The IEUA Federal Executive meeting next week (Thursday 23 May) will consider a resolution that will demand a consistent and appropriate level of support and resourcing from employers and ACARA, or in the alternate a recommendation for schools to withdraw support for future NAPLAN testing.

School Strike 4 Climate – 15 March 2019

The School Strike 4 Climate movement was inspired by the actions of Greta Thunberg, a Swedish political activist seeking to stop global warming and climate change. In August 2018, she became a prominent figure for starting the first school strike for climate, outside the Swedish parliament building.

The Strike, on Friday 15 March, followed an earlier event in November 2018. The March Strike was supported by community groups, schools, universities and unions, including the IEU. Read our statement of support here.

With climate change as the single biggest global challenge, we will continue to support environmental measures and actions that reflect our union principles of collective action. 

Find out more about this movement which is going from strength to strength.

IEU Speaks on International Women’s Day: More Powerful Together

On International Women’s Day, IEU members call upon employers and governments to take proactive steps to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace.

Everyone deserves to be safe at work and in their community. Yet the rates of sexual harassment in Australia are alarming, particularly for women, with 85% having experienced it in their lifetime.

Sexual harassment is about more than just individual behaviour.
It is a problem that is deeply entrenched within our society and occurs because gender inequality is ingrained in our social and cultural norms, structures and practices.

Sexual harassment causes significant harm to individuals, workplaces and society.
IEU members know what the solutions are, but we need governments and employers to implement them.
We need strong action to Change the Rules so that we can prevent and respond to sexual harassment.
And we need it now!

Australian Human Rights Commission National Inquiry Into Workplace Sexual Harassment
Last year, the AHRC launched an independent national inquiry into sexual harassment in the workplace. This 12 month investigation led by Sex Discrimination Commissioner Kate Jenkins aims to highlight a much needed light on a system which is failing Australian workers, particularly women and provide individuals and organisations from all over Australia with opportunities to speak about their experiences.

More Powerful Together: End Sexual Harassment.
The IEU has actively supported the ACTU submission to the AHRC inquiry and will continue to support national action to highlight the incidences of sexual harassment in the workforce. IEU members join with other unions and organisations across Australia to call on State, Territory and Federal Governments to take urgent and coordinated action to implement the following solutions.

  1. Dedicated prevention efforts to address the underlying gendered drivers of sexual harassment, which should be part of a holistic strategy to prevent violence against women and promote gender equality in line with t¹
  2. Stronger and clearer legal duties on employers to take proactive steps to prevent sexual harassment at work, and strong and effective regulators that have the full suite of regulatory tools and resources necessary to effectively tackle sexual harassment, including as a cultural, a systemic and a health and safety issue.
  3. Access to fair, effective and efficient complaints processes, including a new right of action under the Fair Work Act, extended time limits, increased transparency of conciliation outcomes where appropriate, and other amendments and resources necessary to address the unique barriers that currently prevent workers who experience sexual harassment from taking effective legal action.
  4. Appropriate advocacy and support for workers who experience sexual harassment, including access to information, counselling and legal services that are appropriately resourced and coordinated.
  5. Accessible reporting tools, including piloting an online reporting tool that assists people to report and address problem behaviour and seek support, and identifies trends to assist with prevention and enforcement efforts.

Australian workers need access to fair, effective and efficient laws, support and processes which prevent and protect against sexual harassment at work.

On International Women’s Day, IEU members say CHANGE THE RULES and ensure our workplaces are FREE FROM SEXUAL HARASSMENT

 

Please attend the Change the Rules for Working Women Rally on Friday 8 March! Register here

¹ Our Watch. Australian Research Organisation for Women’s Safety and VictHealth ( 2015)