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Unions campaign against government changes to labour laws

Unions are stepping up their campaign against the Abbott government’s anti-worker legislation introduced into the Senate earlier this month.

The Government’s Fair Work Amendment Bill includes changes to Individual Flexibility Agreements (IFAs) which would make it easier for employers to get workers onto these individual arrangements.

They will also make it easier for employers to meet tests designed to ensure that employees aren’t worse off on such contracts than they would be if they were getting award conditions.

The changes look technical. But they are designed to get workers trading off key entitlements such as penalty rates and overtime payments.

They will also allow non-monetary benefits to be counted when an IFA is assessed for fairness. Unions say this will lead us down the path of employees being paid in pizza!

The Bill, if passed, will also make it harder for unions to meet members at their workplaces.

Speaking at a rally in Launceston, Tasmania, this week, ACTU President Ged Kearney said that the Bill was just one part of a broader Abbott government attack on working people’s rights and conditions.

“The Government is starting with the Fair Work Amendment Bill in the Senate before it launches a Productivity Commission review of workplace laws with terms of reference that may as well have been written by big business,” she said.

“Tony Abbott and local Tasmanian Senator, Eric Abetz can repeat their mantra of workplace reform being ‘evolution not revolution’ - but no one should be fooled. This is the first step of the Coalition’s agenda to strip away worker’s rights and wages.”

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