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.

 

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)

Inquiry into Wage Theft

From a media statement by the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety:

The Hon Bill Johnston MLA, Minister for Industrial Relations, has announced an Inquiry into the systematic and deliberate underpayment of wages or entitlements of workers in Western Australia.  View the Minister’s media statement.

The Inquiry is being undertaken by Mr Tony Beech, former Chief Commissioner of the Western Australian Industrial Relations Commission. 

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