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News Media Releases West Australians are ready to fight again to keep their rights at work, say unions
West Australians are ready to fight again to keep their rights at work, say unions
Tuesday, 11 May 2010 12:52

West Australians cannot afford to go backwards in rights at work from a Federal Coalition plan to revive WorkChoices, say unions.
ACTU President Sharan Burrow visited Perth to warn workers and unions of the dangers posed to working West Australians and their families by Tony Abbott’s commitment to hardline industrial relations policies.
Ms Burrow said it was essential for working Australians to build on the advances made since the last Federal election and avoid a return to WorkChoices.
Under WorkChoices, hundreds of thousands of West Australians lost protection from unfair dismissal, and Australian Workplace Agreements were used to cut pay and conditions.
“The community backlash against WorkChoices was a key factor in the election of the Rudd Government in 2007 with a mandate to restore rights at work,” Ms Burrow said.
“The Coalition lost the Perth seat of Hasluck because working people said enough was enough.
“It seems incredible that Tony Abbott would want to bring back WorkChoices by reducing protection from unfair dismissal and allowing employers to dictate pay and conditions through individual contracts. He must heed the message that whatever the name, never again.”

Ms Burrow met with several workers from Royal Perth Hospital who are concerned that a return to WorkChoices would reduce their conditions and their pay rates and leave them struggling to make ends meet.
Over the decade of the Howard Government, mining companies in the state’s north-west used individual contracts to drive profitability, yet there was no evidence that they led to improved productivity or improved safety. Workers are now seeking to escape those contracts and return to collective bargaining under the Rudd Government’s Fair Work Act.
Research by Curtin University of Technology found that rather than benefit low-paid West Australian workers during the last mining boom, WorkChoices lowered working conditions, and heightened job insecurity and vulnerability because of a reduced capacity to bargain.

“Protecting decent working conditions for all West Australians is now important more than ever, especially as we head into a new growth period,” said UnionsWA Secretary Simone McGurk.
“Not everyone can earn big wages in the resources sector – we don’t want WorkChoices–type laws pushing down pay and conditions for most people and leaving them worse off.”

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